Issuu on Google+

Magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand Issue 3/2012

www.bccthai.com

Myanmar focus The Brief

Issue 3/2012

1


CONTENTS Issue 3/2012

BCCT

Board of Directors 2012 Chairman Simon Landy Colliers International Thailand T: 02 656 7000 simon.landy@colliers.com

12

Vice Chairman & Treasurer John Sim KPMG Phoomchai Holdings T: 02 677 2288 jsim@kpmg.co.th Vice Chairmen Matthew Lobner HSBC T: 02 614 4040 matthew.k.lobner@hsbc.com Simon Matthews Manpower Thailand T: 02 634 7273 matthews@manpower.th.com

16

10

Dean Thompson Boots Retail (Thailand) Ltd T: 02 694 5900 dean.thompson@bootsrt.com Directors Jane Bailey Equitech (Thailand) Ltd T: 02 259 6255 jane.bailey@pattfoundation.org Gary Biesty South Asia Law Co., Ltd T: 02 636 0585 garyb@southasia-law.com

24

32

26

David Cumming Amari Orchid Pattaya T: 038 418 418 david.cumming@orchid.amari.com Richard Greaves Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok T: 02 254 6239 richard.greaves@hyatt.com Colin Hastings The Big Chilli Co., Ltd T: 02 235 0170 colin1066@hotmail.com Andrew McBean Grant Thornton T: 02 205 8222 Email: andrew.mcbean@th.gt.com Sriram Narayan British Airways PLC T: 02 627 1723 sriram.narayan@ba.com Chris Thatcher Individual T: 085 064 8884 christhatcher1@gmail.com Toni Weber TNT Express Worldwide (Thailand) T : 02 257 6555 toni_weber@msn.com

36

This Edition

10

Cameron confident about brighter future for Burma

12

More pensions worries for UK expats

31

Lord Powell opens trade talk doors

Royal British Legion needs your support

16

32

EU softens stance on Myanmar Front cover: David Cameron with Aung San Suu Kyi during his recent visit to Myanmar.

26

24

Thailand blacklisted over money laundering fears

Happy and Glorious. Diamond Jubilee in pictures

36

ATS celebrates 50th anniversary

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

3


CONTENTS Issue 3/2012

British Chamber of Commerce Thailand 7th Floor, 208 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel: 02-651 5350/3 Fax: 02-651 5354 Website: www.bccthai.com Email: greg@bccthai.com Greg Watkins, Executive Director

18

35

20

42

50

The Brief is published by: British Chamber of Commerce Thailand For advertising and editorial enquiries, please contact Greg Watkins Executive Director - BCCT Production: Scand-Media Corp., Ltd Bangkok

Every Edition

7

Chairman’s Message

9

Executive Director’s Message The views expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand or of the publisher. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand is strictly prohibited.

61

18

Mint deal for Britain

20

UK looks to boost trade with ASEAN nations

35

BCTFN partners with Wildflower Home to aid single mothers

42

NIST continues support for flood victims

46

By the Numbers

50

Chamber events

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

5


Chairman’s Message

A

s I write this message the Queen is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee and Britain, despite the economic gloom, is entering party mode. Let’s hope this mood prevails throughout the summer as we witness the efforts of our sportsmen and women in Euro 2012 and the Olympics with our customary irrational exuberant, yet diminished, expectations.

Simon Landy

Sterling Partners

Corporate Partners

Other Major Partner

Supporting Partners

Annual Airline Partners

The mood in Thailand, however, continues to be upbeat. The country has rebounded from the disaster of the floods with its equally customary resilience and, while the political scene can most generously be described as uncertain, there is more optimism that things will get sorted than has been the case for the last two years or more. BCCT continues to serve members by providing access to the latest developments both in Thailand and in the UK. To this end the last two months has seen high-profile presentations to members by such movers and shakers as the Thai Minister of Industry, the Mayor of Pattaya and the Lord Mayor of the City of London. More such presentations are being lined up for the rest of the year. One issue that has become a feature on the agenda this year is the opening up of Myanmar. The Chamber held a well-attended briefing session in late March where Gary Beisty, John Sim and I led an animated discussion on how to respond to this looming opportunity. With the suspension of sanctions by the EU in April interest continues to rise, with everyone and his dog organising missions. As yet there is much talk and not much investment and odds are that until the investment regulations are firmed up most investors will hold their fire. Nevertheless, we feel that our members in Thailand are particularly well placed to benefit from service, trade and eventually manufacturing opportunities in Myanmar and we are formulating support strategies for these endeavours. The members’ forum, held in early April, was a key event for the Board. The format of guided discussion around a series of round tables elicited frank and open debate, centred upon what the Chamber should (and shouldn’t!) be doing for its members and how the service offering can be improved. The quality of input was extraordinarily high and the Membership Group under Chris Thatcher has been working to translate this into actionable items. There were numerous takeaways from the meeting and we will be working hard to try to deliver on as many of these as possible. Recommendations covered the full gamut of Chamber activity: membership services and fees, events, advocacy issues and communications. We hope you will see the results of this effort over the course of the coming months. A regular event that is always a highlight on the calendar is the BCCT-Tesco Lotus Bangkok Masters Football Tournament, held over a weekend in late May. Over 30 teams took part this year and enjoyed the panel discussion by various football legends at an informal dinner event. Finally, a new initiative that we are working on involves a development of an earlier Chamber plan to improve connections between BCCT members and UK alumni, including Thais graduating from the UK and those at school in the UK and at international schools in Thailand. A specific goal is to open an avenue for members to help them identify potential recruits with relevant UK degrees. If any of you are keen to assist in this effort, or have some thoughts on how it can best be achieved, please let Greg, Jyoti or myself know. Finally, whether you are sweltering on a beach in Thailand or in the Olympic crowds in London or enjoying the air-conditioned comfort of your office in Bangkok (like me!), I wish you all an enjoyable European summer and hope to see you soon. The Brief

Issue 3/2012

7


Executive Director’s Message

I

n February 2010 the BCCT board confirmed long-established policies concerning activity in the UK. BCCT participates in events in UK to support Thai and British public sector bodies consistent with BCCT’s mission statement ‘To serve the needs and promote the development of British business in Thailand and as ‘Partners in Progress’ contribute directly to Thailand’s economic advancement’.

GREG WATKINS

If lobbying by BCCT is to be taken seriously there has to be a quid pro quo. By working closely with government bodies BCCT can more efficiently address members’ issues and try to secure rule changes. Furthermore, now that BCCT has a realistic membership value proposition for businesses in the UK, engagement with private sector bodies has an immediate benefit. This message lists the many private and public sector bodies in the UK with which BCCT has contact. Members: BCCT has fourteen direct member companies in UK. This number is increasing as the membership offer reaches interested companies. As important are the UK headquarters of large British companies that are active in supporting BCCT but are not represented on the main board. Tesco, Standard Chartered and GSK are good examples. The BCCT UK Group was established in February 2011 under the Chairmanship of Steve Buckley, past Director of Trade and Investment at the British Embassy Bangkok and Asia Pacific Advisor to OCS in UK. The UK Group directly supports BCCT activity in UK through participation at meetings and events. The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Thailand country desk is a key partner for BCCT. Recently BCCT has been active in supporting the establishment of the UK ASEAN Business Council (UKABC). The UKABC aims to bring together companies from SE Asia and Britain to explore practical ways in which to exploit business opportunities for mutual benefit. The Royal Thai Embassy is a key partner in the UK. The Ambassador, H.E. Kitti Wasinondh, is a big supporter of BCCT. His predecessor H.E. Vikrom Koompirochana is an Honorary Advisor to BCCT. With the support of the Royal Thai Embassy, the Association of Thai Businesses in the UK (ATBUK) was formally launched in September 2010 to support Thai businesses and their employees operating in the UK. The UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Thailand aims to develop and improve links between the British and Thai parliaments; to encourage a deeper understanding of their respective cultures; and to help promote trade between the two countries. British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is a high-profile and independent business network of local chambers across the UK. Its mission is to make the network an essential part of growing business by sharing opportunities, knowledge and expertise. BCC’s network is 52 accredited Chambers of Commerce with national coverage representing approximately 100,000 business members employing over five million employees. Asia House is the leading pan-Asian organisation in the UK. It builds dynamic links with Asia by providing unique insights into culture, policy, business and education. It promotes informed understanding and the mutual exchange of ideas, building stronger relationships. The Anglo-Thai Society (ATS) was founded in 1962 to help promote good relations between the UK and Thailand. It currently has around 300 members with an interest in Thailand’s people, culture and its business relations. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is one of the UK’s leading independent employers’ organisations and premier business lobbying organisation, providing a voice for employers at a national and international level. CBI speaks for more than 240,000 companies of every size and in every sector. BCCT also works with UK chambers of commerce and trade associations on an individual basis. We maintain contacts with all of the above organisations at different levels through the Executive Director’s occasional visits to the UK, ad hoc visits to UK by BCCT board directors and other members and through BCCT’s UK Group. Hopefully there will be several events in UK during the autumn with UKABC, ATS and perhaps the Thai Students’ Association in UK – Samaggi Samagom (reference the Chairman’s Message in this issue of The Brief). The Brief

Issue 3/2012

9


Cover Story

Cameron confident about brighter future for Burma P

rime Minister David Cameron’s recent visit to Burma included a significant one-toone meeting in Rangoon with Aung San Suu Kyi. The meeting has paved the way for further ministerial visits to Burma in the coming months as Britain seeks to secure important trade and investment opportunities. Mr Cameron told Aung San Suu Kyi, “Today we can see in your country that there are changes taking place, reforms taking place that I know you welcome and that we welcome and that is one of the reasons I wanted to come today because we care about what happens in your country. It is incredibly beautiful country, with extraordinary people. It shouldn’t be as poor as it is; it shouldn’t have suffered under dictatorship for as long as it has; and things don’t have to be that way. And there is the real prospect of change. And I’m very much committed to working with you, and trying to help make sure that your country makes those changes. “Clearly there are still so many things that need to happen. It is good that some political prisoners have been released but we want to see more political prisoners released. It is good that you had the by-elections. And many congratulations on your successful elections but clearly we all look forward to the general election in 2015. It is good that there has been some progress with the terrible ethnic con-

10

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Trade and investment opportunities for UK firms were part of the bilateral talks.


Cover Story flicts that have harmed this country for so many years but clearly we need to see a real political solution to those conflicts in the months and the years to come,” added the Prime Minister Mr Cameron concluded,” Let me just end again by saying what an inspiration it is to have followed your struggle, to have watched in your incredible courage, and the light that you have shown to all those around the world who want to see freedom, democracy, and greater human rights. What’s happening here in Burma, I believe, shows that these things can happen and they can happen in a peaceful way and that is something we should be hugely encouraged by. Because Burma not only needs political progress, but it desperately needs economic progress and greater wealth, too.” It is a tragedy that one in three children in this country is malnourished and there is so much poverty and I’m committed that Britain should do what it can to help not only with political progress but also development and economic progress, too. But thank you again for giving me such a warm welcome today. It is an honour to stand by your side.” Foreign Secretary William Hague also addressed matters relating to Burma during his visit to the ‘Britain in Asia’ event Singapore in April. “I visited Burma in January and our Prime Minister was the first Western leader to visit after the by-elections. Based on what we saw and heard, we led the way in calling for the suspension of EU sanctions which was agreed in Luxembourg this week. Today, after discussion with Aung San Suu Kyi and very careful consideration, I can announce that the British Government will lift its policy of discouraging trade with Burma. We believe that at this moment in time the right kind of responsible trade and investment can help aid the country’s transition. “We will put responsible investment at the heart of our future commercial

All smiles for the British Prime Minister and Aung San Suu Kyi.

relationship with Burma, encouraging investment that will benefit local communities and respect the local environment. We look to partners such as Singapore to support this approach. To achieve this, we will aim to launch investment climate assessments for Burma with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank,” added Mr Hague.

“We will also fund programmes to bolster the rule of law and to plan how the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights might be put in place and take forward work on how investment might contribute to that particularly helps poorer people growth. We are also in discussion with the Burmese authorities about opening a new diplomatic office in Naypyitaw.”

Burma was home to some of the early civilisations of southeast Asia including the Pyu and the Mon. The country was colonised by Great Britain following three Anglo-Burmese Wars (1824-1885). It gained independence in 1948. Burma is a resource rich country but the country’s economy is one of the lesser developed in the world. The World Health Organization ranked Burma’s health care system as the worst performing of all countries. With an estimated GDP per capita in 2011 of just US$1,300 there is much work needed to improve the lives of the vast majority of the Burmese people. The country has a labour force in excess of 32 million, with about 70 percent working in the agriculture sector. Agriculture dominates the domestic economy (38% portion of GDP). In 1961 it was U Thant, then the Union of Burma’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former Secretary to the Prime Minister, who was elected Secretary General of the United Nations – a position he held for ten years. Among the Burmese to work at the UN when he was Secretary-General was a young Aung San Suu Kyi.

(All statistics sourced from the CIA World Factbook).

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

11


Lord Powell visit opens new trade doors in Burma By Dale Lawrence

We are grateful to Andy Heyn, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador in Burma, for sharing with us his summary of the recent visit of Lord Powell, co-chairman of the UK Asia Task Force.

L

ord Powell of Bayswater has made a high-level visit to Burma to gain an overview of the opportunities available to British business. He held meetings with five key Ministers and Burmese business leaders help to create a platform for HMG’s commercial agenda here. He received a warm welcome on the Burmese side, inviting investment and requesting assistance with development of markets. The UK delegation noted with interest that there are now signs of an increasing responsiveness to our drive for responsible investment. But significant barriers remain, which are likely to mean that many of the bigger British companies will move fairly cautiously at the outset. The stage is, however, set for first UK trade delegation, led by Lord Marland, in early July. In Naypyitaw, Lord Powell met the Ministers for Finance, Commerce, Industry, Tourism, and Electric Power 2, as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Energy and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament. He also met, amongst others, advisors to the President and to the Finance Minister. Lord Powell, setting the scene for UK trade and investment, emphasised

12

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

electricity shortages there was also an emphasis on the energy sector and, in particular, its infrastructure. The Minister for Electric Power 2 was scheduled to visit the UK for further discussions at the end of June. There was real interest in British expertise in privatisation, legal reform and the development of the financial sector. One Minister made clear that Britain’s emphasis upon responsible business was part of the attraction. Ambassador Heyn adds in his report that there is increasing substance to this. Following the Prime Minister David Cameron’s intervention with the President, the government has invited the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative secretariat to visit. These opportunities are now being examined with UKTI and DFID.

that the visits of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and DFID SoS Andrew Mitchell – as well as the visit of Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann to the UK - had established a new political relationship. He said that it was now time to expand that relationship into new areas, including trade.

Ministers in Burma told Lord Powell that they were committed to moving further towards a market economy but they were wary of moving too quickly – in part because of concerns about the readiness of their own domestic enterprises. Lord Powell also heard that they had adopted a stepby-step approach to the development of such a market economy.

The Burma government warmly welcomed British commercial engagement, with Ministers and officials making repeated calls for British investment in, and assistance with, the education sector. Following recent

So far there have been significant moves to unify the exchange rate, to unwind some of the restrictions on imports and to draft a new Foreign Investment Law (due for discussion and ratification by Parliament in July.

Schwedagon Pagoda in Yangoon


Lord Powell, centre, engaged in a series of wide-ranging discussions during this recent visit to Myanmar.

The suspension by the US government of financial sanctions is also a critical step in that it enables businesses to transfer money into and out of the country. It is hoped that the suspension will be introduced quickly and the British Embassy in Rangoon is monitoring the position closely.

political changes had opened up new opportunities and a sense of optimism, economic reform had not kept up. Companies remain frustrated by the lack of capacity in government, the slow-moving bureaucracy and the low-level corruption - which one businessman claimed to be as bad as ever.

Ministers acknowledged that far more remains to be done. Foreign companies still face significant legal and practical restrictions – including bureaucratic licensing regimes, limited access to certain key sectors including banking and telecoms, and limitations on land ownership. Several laws remain under review, creating uncertainty. The human resource base is low and some basic infrastructure is lacking, both physical and financial.

The President last month laid out a vision for the second phase of reform that would see the economic process accelerate but some felt that he needs to be more decisive and directive with colleagues in Naypyitaw to push this vision through, against the inevitable opposition from those who are losing privileges as it happens.

Ministers acknowledged that it would take time to remove all these barriers. The business community also inserted a note of caution. They felt that British business would certainly be well received - many of them claim a natural affinity with the UK. However they also felt that, while the

The Burmese Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Minister of Commerce himself, lobbied Lord Powell for the reinstatement of the EU’s GSP privileges. The UK delegation made clear that the EU would consider its position in the light of the upcoming ILO report on forced labour. “Lord Powell’s visit was an excellent way to communicate to senior Ministers and business leaders our intent

to open up a wider and deeper relationship with Burma. It was an important staging post in our efforts to establish the UK’s prosperity agenda, which we are moving quickly to do with the help of new UK-based and LE resource from UKTI. The scene is now set for the first trade delegation to Burma, led by Lord Marland,” said Ambassador Heyn. “Some smaller British companies are already reasonably advanced in their scoping missions here. Several bigger companies are interested, but they are being a little more cautious. This is no bad thing. With big British investment likely to be under close scrutiny – with the political process still fragile and with the rule of law still a concern – it is important that it is done right.” The UKT&I is now represented in Burma by Hazel Hector, based at the British Embassy in Rangoon. Hazel will be pleased to hear from BCCT members on matters specific to doing business in Burma. Hazel. Hector@fco.gov.uk

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

13


Making the most of Myanmar’s new investment law By Tony Picon

T

he widely anticipated foreign investment law and other legislation affecting business needs effective implementation to achieve its purpose of developing the country’s economy. Although delayed, the foreign investment law is expected to be passed sometime in July when parliament reconvenes, although further setbacks are still possible. However the new law is expected to kick-start the process where investors start to truly take a stake in the potential Myanmar growth story rather than exploring the market, which is the current preoccupation. Myanmar ticks most boxes for businesses in most sectors: a large population, strategic location, beautiful and abundant coastline and significant natural resources plus an affinity for its people, which cannot be underestimated. For many this represents a very large and seductive half full glass but investors must also be mindful of the half empty part that could hamper their endeavours over the coming years. The new investment law will likely start to open the country to foreign engagement in the Myanmar economy, but care should be taken. One eminent lawyer I spoke to recently thought that the 1988 Foreign Investment Law, reversing over 25 years of disastrous socialist economics, was a worthy piece of legislation. The

14

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Busy street in Yangon

problem was in the implementation of the law, as in the previous socialist regime even basic necessities such as soap and toothpaste needed approval from government officials. This trend of micro involvement of the state in various forms has continued up to this day. What must also be factored in is that, although a new law could be passed soon, the procedures and bodies that will implement the law may take time to be established. In fact this would be a good sign as it is preferable to have a proper set-up manned

by competent civil servants that can administer investment efficiently rather than a rushed, half-baked one. A body similar in function to that of the Board of Investment in Thailand is expected to be created but there are concerns that rather than a onestop shop allowing easy facilitation of FDI, ministers will still be involved in the approval process that create unnecessary delays and pave the way for continued corruption. With governments raising the bar on graft such as in the UK starting


in July, companies that operate in countries with poor reputations for corruption will come under closer scrutiny. Companies have a special role to play in the development of Myanmar in the future. Those wishing to invest should commit to the long-term development of the country. This does not mean merely arranging a CSR campaign as a form of redemption but by the actual process of doing business that can help support the country to move forward in its development. This involves building capacity by training employees and supporting local business partners in best international practice in their industry. It also involves conducting business in an ethical manner, which can then permeate local customs and behaviour. Global leaders in all sectors can help by engaging with government officials in bringing knowhow to the

administration of laws primarily affecting business and finance. It must be remembered that the country has largely been isolated from the global economy for the past 50 years and the mind-set of many in government and business can be very antiquated. With the suspension of sanctions the door is now open for foreign business associations such as chambers of commerce to begin a process of constructive dialogue with the Myanmar government in order to ensure that new laws are implemented in an appropriate manner that will benefit both investors and the country alike. The country does not have the ideological baggage of socialism that can frustrate investors in Vietnam and China and in my dealings with Myanmar people I notice in many an intellectual curiosity that is very special. Many older people are highly

educated and this can help underpin the building of human capacity. There are many challenges to doing business in Myanmar but plenty of opportunities for those companies, big and small, to be part of the positive transformation of probably the last frontier in Asia.

Tony Picon is Associate Director of Colliers International Thailand and is responsible for research and business in Myanmar Tel: +95 (0) 9421034026 Thai mobile: 0852600294

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

15


EU softens stance on Myanmar as sanctions are suspended T

he Council of the European Union has adopted a regulation that, together with a Council decision adopted on 26 April, gives full legal effect to the suspension of EU sanctions against Myanmar. The suspension was agreed at the Foreign Affairs Council on 23 April.

EU restrictive measures against Myanmar are, therefore, suspended for one year but, importantly, the embargo on arms and equipment that may be used for internal repression will remain in force for another 12 months. The suspension of the sanctions is part of the EU’s policy to welcome and encourage the ongoing reform process in Myanmar. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, said, “The European Union welcomes the remarkable changes in Myanmar and has decided to open a new chapter in our relations. Now that the sanctions will be effectively suspended, we encourage trade and investment in the country.”

For the benefit of all our readers we reprint below the conclusions adopted in April 2012 by The Council of the European Union in respect of Myanmar. The European Union has followed with respect and appreciation the historic changes in Burma over the past year and encourages the wideranging reforms to continue under President U Thein Sein, the Government and the Parliament, in a developing partnership with political and

16

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Catherine Ashton, left, with Aung San Suu Kyi during the opening of the EU office in Yangon.

The suspended measures concern trade and investment in the sectors of logging, timber processing and mining of precious metals and precious stones. In addition, persons involved in policies that

impeded Myanmar’s transition to democracy and military owned companies or companies controlled by the government of Myanmar were targeted by asset freezes and travel bans.

civil society actors including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

• the overall transparent and credible conduct of the by-elections on 1 April, resulting in the election of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the National League for Democracy party, which will support steps towards national reconciliation • the progress on changes in law and practice to enable freedom of assembly and of association and to eliminate the use of forced labour • the release of a substantial number of political prisoners and the

These reforms will need time to implement and to bear fruit. The foundation for development is legitimate government, the rule of law and national reconciliation. The EU praises the peaceful nature of the process and the readiness of the parties to work towards the same goals, with a shared vision for political, social and economic reforms. It also welcomes the concrete steps taken towards these ends:


Government’s willingness to work on open cases • the Government’s efforts to conclude cease-fire arrangements with armed groups in the ethnic regions, in particular with Karen National Union, and its readiness to look towards wider and more durable political settlements These and other unprecedented developments allow the EU to open a new chapter in its relations with Myanmar. The Council therefore welcomes the upcoming official visit of the High Representative to the country, marking a new beginning in bilateral relations, as highlighted by the opening of an EU Office in Yangon.

In this regard, the EU still expects the unconditional release of remaining political prisoners and the removal of all restrictions placed on those already released. It looks forward to the end of conflict and to substantially improved access for humanitarian assistance, in particular for those affected by conflict in Kachin State and along the Eastern border, as well as to addressing the status and improving the welfare of the Rohingyas.

perspective for their development, as part of national reconciliation • the EU and its Member States have announced significant new funding for economic and social development, democratic transformation and the strengthening of civil society and the public administration’s capacity at central and regional level, in order to help improve governance and to establish an effective administration in a democratic and inclusive state • the EU stands ready to assist all actors in their endeavour to strengthen the rule of law and the respect for human rights. In this regard, the EU looks forward to working with the legislature and the national Human Rights Commission. The EU will also work with the authorities, including the Election Commission, in reviewing the electoral system with a view to the general elections in 2015

The EU wants now to enter into an active collaboration with Myanmar as a whole with a view to assisting the reform process and contributing to economic, political and social development. On the basis of the discussion the EU Development Ministers will have in May, the EU will continue to engage in a dialogue and cooperation with the authorities and other stakeholders, including in the following areas:

In all these areas, donor coordination will be important and the EU looks to the Myanmar authorities to show leadership in this, fostering a wide-ranging consultation with all stakeholders, including political parties, regional authorities and civil society, applying principles such as participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability. This will be discussed at the next Foreign Affairs Council/Development.

• the EU looks forward to collaborating with the central and local authorities and others concerned to support the process of bringing peace and stability to ethnic regions and to open a long-term

The EU recognises the vital contribution the private sector has to make to the development of Myanmar and would welcome European companies exploring trade and investment opportunities. This should be done by pro-

As a means to welcome and encourage the reform process, the Council will suspend restrictive measures imposed on the Government, with the exception of the arms embargo, which it will retain. The Council will monitor closely the situation on the ground, keep its measures under constant review and respond positively to progress on ongoing reforms.

moting the practice of the highest standards of integrity and corporate social responsibility. These are laid out in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, UN guiding principles on business and human rights and the EU’s own CSR strategy 2011-2014. The EU will work with the authorities, the private sector and the people of Myanmar to create the best possible regulatory environment. The Council supports reinstating the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for Myanmar as soon as possible once the required conditions are fulfilled, following the assessment of the International Labour Organisation. The EU also welcomes the willingness of the Government to address environmental risks, in particular those related to deforestation and the loss of biodiversity. It therefore encourages the Government to begin a dialogue with the EU on ways to ensure the sustainable management of Myanmar’s forests and harvesting of timber in compliance with national legislation, consistent with fighting poverty and securing livelihoods. It will work with the authorities to promote transparency and accountability in extractive industries as well as in environmental protection, in particular through Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The EU now looks forward to a future in which it will be able to collaborate constructively with the Government and the people of Myanmar to foster unity and build prosperity.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

17


Mint deal for Britain By Bradley Jones

T

and producing bespoke research on their behalf. We help all UK firms, large and small, and the vast majority of our customers tend to be small companies.

he last few months have been exceptionally busy for the UK Trade and Investment Team at the British Embassy in Bangkok. We have had several high level visits to Thailand: Lord Powell, (Chairman of the UK Asia Task Force), The Rt Hon Tony Blair, The Duke of York, Lord Green (Trade Minister), Jeremy Browne (Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Asia), the Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan (Secretary of State for Wales) and, most recently, the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Recognition that Thailand is a key economic player in the Asia region, and that significant commercial opportunities for UK companies exist here, has been a hallmark of all these visits.

Any company is entitled to use our services, so long as they are VAT-registered, listed at Companies House, with at least some of their commercial activity taking place in the UK. We do not offer UKTI chargeable services to British nationals resident in Thailand who run Thai-registered companies that are not operating in the UK. This is because there would be no economic benefit to the UK in doing so. Jeremy Browne

UK Trade and Investment has been undergoing a strategic overhaul in recent months to ensure that, as an organisation, we are able the offer the best service possible to UK companies that are seeking to do business overseas. Our remit is nothing less than to help shape the transformation of the British economy, restoring its position as one of the world’s great trading nations. UK Trade and Investment is a strange beast. It is jointly owned by the Foreign and Commercial Office and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It has no employees in its own right – we are all seconded in from one of these two parent departments. Our HQ in London is relatively small – most of UKTI’s team are front-line staff based either in the English regions or at our embassies, high commissions and consulates overseas. As a Government organisation we are funded by the taxpayer but we charge for some of our services. Independent research suggests we offer good value for money. Indeed, it has been estimated that for every pound spent by UK Trade and Investment 18

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Major General Charouk Arirachakara presenting the Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan with a National Olympic Committee of Thailand memento.

we generate around £20 of additional benefit for the UK economy. I would like to set out what UKTI does overseas. Primarily, our role is to help UK companies do business overseas by advising them on the technicalities of exporting, giving them expert intelligence on overseas markets, helping them to make connections and signposting them to sources of advice, arranging visit programmes

However the BCCT does of course, support Thai-domiciled Brits running companies here, and I think this is the key point that differentiates our two organisations and the services we offer (although we both, of course, offer our support to UK companies operating in Thailand too). UKTI and the BCCT do have common interests in many areas. We both share the view that an open, well-regulated and well-governed, transparent economy is in the best interests of everybody in Thailand, including British companies, and we work together to ensure the concerns of the British business community are raised with the Thai Government. We have worked together over the last year on issues such as bribery and corruption, labour law, the minimum wage and the skills gap. We always endeavour to ensure that, when our Ambassador or visiting Ministers raise issues of concern to the Thai Government, we consult the BCCT first to ensure the views of their membership are reflected in the positions that we take. On visa applications, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in Bangkok currently exceeds its customer service standards for processing 90 percent of non-


port to the foreign investor so that as many UK jobs can be protected or created as possible as a result of the acquisition and also so that we can maximise new investment into the country. UKTI has changed a lot over the last year or so. We are much more focussed upon the bottom line these days – delivering maximum benefit to British companies seeking to grow their businesses by trading overseas. Everything I and my team do must therefore be aligned with this objective. We have, quite rightly, been given tough service delivery targets by our HQ in London. We have already scored some major successes – a recent example being the £6 million contract signing between the Royal Mint and the Thai Treasury to produce the blanks for 500 million one baht coins. The Royal Mint is based in Llantrisant, South Wales and this deal will help to save jobs in an area of the UK where unemployment is high. We have a steady pipeline of other projects that we hope will also come to fruition over the coming months. UKTI is, at its core, about value addition – our objective is to use the knowhow and connectivity that being part of the Government’s overseas network gives to fill the information gaps that might be inhibiting UK companies from succeeding overseas. In the next edition of The Brief, I shall share with you more success stories of UK companies in Thailand. Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman David Wootton, during his recent visit to Thailand.

settlement applications within 15 working days. If you need a visa more quickly you may qualify for UKBA’s Priority Visa Service where, for an additional fee, your visa application is placed at the top of the queue. Decisions on these types of applications are usually made within three working days. For further information on this and other visa services please visit the UKBA in Thailand web site (www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk). Likewise, I have no locus on issues that are not trade-related, such as passport renewals and pensions. However, my colleagues in the visa and consular sections of the Embassy, who do have responsibility for these areas,

have given presentations to the BCCT Board on these issues and we are currently exploring ways in which they can communicate their policies to the wider BCCT membership. UKTI is also involved in supporting foreign direct investment into the UK. We encourage all forms of organic investment into the UK but, with regard to foreign companies acquiring UK businesses, we tend to maintain a neutral position until the acquisition is confirmed, (not least because other UK companies might be competing against the foreign company in the specific acquisition bid). However, once the deal is done, we provide a wide range of sup-

Bradley Jones is Director – UK Trade & Investment in Thailand, based at the British Embassy, 14 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330 Tel: 02 305 8256 Fax: 02 255 8619 Email: bradley.jones@ fco.gov.uk www.ukinthailand.fco.gov.uk

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

19


UK looks to boost trade with ASEAN nations T

he UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) is striving to bring together companies from south east Asia and Great Britain to explore practical ways in which to exploit business opportunities for mutual benefit. UK trade with the ASEAN region is greater than with either China or India and British investment in south east Asia markets is one of the highest of any country. But British companies have even more to offer across the range of sectors, notably high value, innovative and knowledgebased industries. From infrastructure to consumer goods, education to life sciences and environment, the United Kingdom has a cutting edge and competitive solution for the diverse markets in this region. But challenges remain for matching trade and investment opportunities. With its own panel of top business figures and working in closely with UKTI, British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI and other stakehold-

Prime Minister David Cameron has been leading Britain’s efforts for more international trade.

ers, the UKABC can support trade visits to the UK and facilitate connections with top level individuals and groups from government and industry. At a working level, the Council also makes important and valuable introductions to a huge range of businesses and other professionals. This is a very special year for the UK with the 2012 Olympic and Paralym-

pic Games, and the celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There is no better time to visit the United Kingdom. To register your interest, please contact: Tim Standbrook, UKASEAN Business Council. Tel: +44 20 7215 6301. Email: tim. standbrook@ukti.gov.uk

Thai PM targets two trillion baht in tourism revenues

P

rime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is predicting that tourism income for Thailand will top two trillion baht by 2015. Addressing a tourism workship in Chonburi the Prime Minister told delegates that the government was focused not only upon generating tourism income but also on developing long-term sustainable tourism. She added that tourism strategies in Thailand should be adjusted to focus 20

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

more upon cultural and ecotourism. Delegates also heard that the government is ready to support the private tourism sector in all aspects and she called upon public and private sector bodies to work together to map out jointly effective strategies to boost the quality of leisure visitors to Thailand. Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome told the workshop that his ministry is to promote 84 cultural routes to stimulate tourism.


EABC raises trade issues in ministerial talks

D

eputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong is urging the European ASEAN Business Centre to work with the Thai government on the key issues of foreign ownership restrictions, taxation and customs. The EABC organised a courtesy visit to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Kittiratt Na Ranong. EABC president Rolf-Dieter Daniel reports that the occasion provided for ‘high-level policy discussion on key trade and investment development as well as the establishment of EABC as representing a unified voice of European businesses in Thailand’.

EABC Director John Svengren led a delegation to meet Deputy Prime Minister Kittirat Na Ranong.

ratt proposed to hold another high level dialogue to monitor progress in the next three months. The Prime Minister will be invited to take part.” The EABC has also met with the Director-General of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) to discuss IPR policy and regulatory development. This follows the second Annual Meeting of the EU-Thailand IPR Dialogue in February 2012 in Brussels.

Topics under discussion included legislative amendments in respect of trademark, patent and customs, IP commercialisation, strengthening enforcement efforts, and accession of Thailand to key international IP agreements. Both sides agreed upon fostering of closed cooperation and welcomed active partnership building towards IPR development for the benefits of both Thailand and European businesses.

Noting the key issues raised by the European business representatives, including relaxation of foreign ownership restrictions and enhanced transparency in the legislation and application of rules and regulations particularly on tax and customs, the Deputy Prime Minister encouraged the EABC to work with the Royal Thai Government and relevant authorities. Mr Daniel added, “With emphasis upon Thailand’s strong commitment towards meaningful improvement Khun Kitti-

The EABC has raised IP issues with Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

21


Translating intraregional trade opportunities into business reality By Neema Paresh Majmudar

I

and quality, pricing and promotion. Trade fairs are useful for networking, benchmarking and learning from competitors as well as meeting distributors and buyers. TSIs also need to assist enterprises in meeting quality requirements, using the domestic market for research and development and ensuring that enterprises are sufficiently prepared to obtain financing and helping exporters find the right slot in global supply chains.

n the aftermath of the global economic crisis there is a renewed interest to further enhance regional cooperation and integration amongst Asia Pacific countries to reduce overdependence, risks and uncertainty of trading with developed countries. South-South trade has grown at almost twice the rate of world trade since 1990. According to UNCTAD, South-South merchandise trade accounted for more than 10 percent of world trade imports in 1995 and, by 2008, this share had almost doubled to nearly 20 percent valued at US$3.1 trillion.1 The figures also indicate that more than 70 percent of South-South trade is attributed to intra-Asian trade. In spite of increasing intraregional trade there is substantial scope for further expansion, given that the region has some of the world’s fastest growing economies. In order for countries to further unleash the potential for intraregional trade the following policies would be critical. Potential export markets As countries focus towards intra-regional trade there is a product shift. Taste, preferences and consumption power in Asian countries are quite different from Western European and US markets. Trade Support Institutions (TSI) have a role to play in providing both strategic direction and support services to

Modifying export products assist firms in shifting production to cater to demands in regional markets. The initial step could be to identify products that are currently exported by one or more countries in the region to the rest of the world and simultaneously imported by that same region from the rest of the world. The simple fact that such products are imported into the region provides an indication of existing demand and those same products are exported by countries in the world provides a further indication of existing supply under competitive conditions. It is critical that results of this initial research are disseminated to relevant trade related organisations and shared with private enterprises. In addition, TSIs can provide technical expertise to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to enter target markets and support them with market intelligence, design, packaging, standards

In certain cases countries may be able to export the same products within the region that were exported to developed countries. However, this identity in broad categories masks heterogeneity. Developing regional markets, especially through South-South trade, offers potential to exploit geographical proximity and less demanding product standards at times. The firms may need to alter cost and quality structure of existing products in keeping with purchasing power in new markets. Since upgrading product qualities and specialisation are important for export success in the long run it may be advisable for countries to design carefully their geographical diversification strategies. This is especially true due also to the fact that, at times, importers from developed countries transfer state-of-the-art technology and knowhow to exporters to produce better quality products. Exporting to developed countries may also impel

1) New World Order: Shifting markets in trade, investment and opportunity, International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum Issue 2/2010 accessed at http://www.tradeforum.org/New-Order-Shifting-Markets-in-Trade-Investment-and-Opportunity on 22/11/2011 2) African Export Successes: Surprises, Stylized Facts and Explanations, William Easterly and Ariell Reshef, Working Paper 16597 National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper Series, December 2010 3) 2010 World Export Development Forum-Renewed Optimism for Export-led Growth in the Post-crisis Era, Trade Forum Editorial, January 15, 2011, International Trade Centre. Accessed at http://www.tradeforum.org/2010-World-Export-Development-Forum--Renewed on 22/11/2011 22

The Brief

Issue 3/2012


Identification of products to be exported to intraregional markets also needs to take into consideration the impact of changing demographics. For example, in contrast to China which is moving towards an ageing population, India and South Asia are expected to see a decrease in the national median age over the next 10 to 15 years.

Trade costs of many economies of the region have decreased, largely due to tariff cuts, but much remains to be done to address non-tariff barriers (NTBs) arising from unnecessarily cumbersome procedures and regulations or inadequate logistics services. In this context, trade facilitation measures to simplify procedures and formalities are of utmost importance to the countries in the region. The recent ASEAN Single Window initiative aims at developing a regional Single Window system for its member countries by 2012.

Creating conducive policy

Utilising aid for trade

There is also a need to find innovative new ways of financing to assist exporters as they shift from traditional markets of developed countries into new markets and customers. An alternative financing model, focusing upon five key stages in the chain: producers, stokers, traders, processors and endusers, needs to be developed.3

Aid for Trade is of significant importance to developing countries as it enables them to shift away from being an aid-dependent country to a trade-reliant nation. Aid for Trade in the short run can provide stimulus for infrastructure investment, support for SMEs and microfinance. In the long run it can strengthen supply side capacities, increase competitiveness and improve the regulatory and business environment of developing countries. Aid for trade can be utilised

them to improve overall efficiency as it requires better planning, meeting deadlines, better quality control and maintaining product consistency.2

In addition to trade policy there are number of administrative barriers which may act as barriers to trade.

by countries of the region to facilitate intra-regional trade expansion and diversification. Aid for Trade includes technical assistance for trade policy and regulations; trade related infrastructure, productive capacity building including supply side capacity for trade development, implementing and adjusting to trade-related reform and liberalisation. Other trade-related needs include a smooth integration into the world trading system and implementation of trade agreements. Developing countries through multilateral as well as regional institutions request the donors to increase their contribution towards Aid for Trade. Neema Paresh Majmudar is Economic Affairs Officer, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP (+662 288 1446). This report is based on the March updated version of Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011. http://www.unescap.org/tid/ ti_report2011/home.asp

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

23


Thailand blacklisted over money laundering fears By Eric Jordan

T

he Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has added Thailand to a list of countries that are failing to take adequate steps in the fight against money laundering. FATF is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of national and international policies to combat money laundering, the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It was formed in 1989 with 31 countries recognising jointly the extensive use of financial institutions by criminals. Countries that failed to cooperate were placed on a blacklist and transactions in those countries were subject to greater scrutiny. The FATF blacklist now comprises 17 countries (see box out) with Thailand joining the likes of Iran, North Korea and Nigeria. So why has Thailand been placed on the blacklist? FATF recognises that the Kingdom has taken significant steps towards improving its AML (anti-money laundering) regime, including the enactment of AML legislation. However, despite considerable political commitment to work with FATF, Thailand has not made sufficient progress in implementing its action plan and certain strategic deficiencies remain. No doubt the fact that financial institutions in Thailand have been faithfully reporting large numbers of suspicious transactions has not gone unnoticed. The problem is, perhaps, the lack of follow-up on these transactions on a grand enough scale. No doubt the latest decision of FATF will

24

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

encourage an even greater resolve on the part of the government to tackle the issues, particularly as Thailand has so much to gain. For it is estimated that money-laundering and its related crimes cost between two and five percent of GDP. For expatriates living in Thailand it can affect us in many ways. If you wish to open an offshore bank account or invest with an international institution the alarm bells start to ring, irrespective of your nationality, once you state that you are living in Thailand. This is frustrating when you know you are dealing with hard-working professional people who simply wish to save for the future. But there are no exceptions. If you are a Thai national, if you live in Thailand, or even if your funds are being transferred from a Thai bank you are subject to additional scrutiny.

Generally this is not a major problem for us as applications are usually accepted once the client has submitted additional evidence of his employment and the source of funds. But it is a considerable inconvenience and virtually every application is questioned. If the amount to be invested appears excessive in relation to the person’s income more questions are asked. To illustrate this point a client in Indonesia (also a blacklisted nation) opened a bank account in the Channel Islands and requested confirmation that her application was in order before transferring money to the account. She was told it was in order so she transferred the money. The bank subsequently contacted her again and said that they wanted more information on her Indonesian husband. This


annoyed her and she asked for the return of her money. They refused, saying that to return her money would be tantamount to money laundering. She had little choice but to relent and provide the information. You get the impression that international banks and other financial institutions are no longer interested in doing business with us and that they are, with good reason, far more concerned about their own protection. Several international banks have been fined millions of dollars in recent times for having inadequate AML procedures in place or for displaying laxity in accepting funds from sources that turned out to be criminal. Managers and directors of institutions face imprisonment for allowing the proceeds of crime to pass through their books. Bank-client relationships have probably never been so bad, particularly since the banking crisis of 2008. Many banks have struggled to survive, some have had to be bailed out by governments and, with tougher regulations to deal with and the threat of massive sanctions for failure to comply, it is little wonder our once friendly bank manager no longer has time to invite us in for a cup of tea! We can certainly avoid some of the potential hassles of dealing with financial institutions by keeping good financial records and ensuring we can always prove our residential addresses - a universal requirement for any kind of financial application. Bearing in mind that utility bills are rarely

did not ask the questions they should have but how easy is it to launder money through casinos? It is interesting to note that these ‘respectable’ countries allow casinos whilst Thailand does not and yet Thailand is admonished for its lack of effort in preventing money laundering. It should be noted, however, that the casinos in Cambodian border towns do a thriving business from gamblers visiting from Thailand. addressed to the resident it is wise to ensure that at least one bank or credit card statement is addressed to you at home. It is also wise to have a few copies of your passport and your citizen’s or residence permit always to hand. A little preparation can save a lot of time and frustration. Thailand’s Anti Money Laundering Office Secretary-General, Seehanart Prayoonrat, said the agency had tried to cooperate with draft laws on this issue. He attributed the delay in law enforcement to the floods last year but the international watchdog was not sympathetic . Yet how innocent are other countries that are considered to be ‘squeaky clean’? To what extent does FATF investigate the source of the billions of dollars hidden away in the big banks of so-called ‘respectable’ countries? The Thai government is trying its best to retrieve assets that have been ferreted away into banks that perhaps

I wonder what money laundering controls are in place in casinos? I have little personal experience but I do recall visiting a Macau casino about sixteen years ago. No questions were asked when I exchanged US$100 for a handful of chips (whose rapid disappearance at one of the tables made it abundantly clear why casinos make such massive profits). But what if I had changed $10,000 for chips? Would this have raised any questions or even eyebrows? From my recollection of the money that was changing hands it seemed to make nonsense of the loops we have to go through to invest relatively small amounts into highly regulated investment vehicles. Food for thought - but in the meantime we must keep retaining those bills to prove where we live and documents to prove where we derive our income, without which it will be assumed that because we live in Thailand we must be indulging in nefarious activities. More information about FATF: http://www.fatf-gafi.org/

Countries blacklisted by the FATF: • • • • • • • •

Bolivia Cuba Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Ethiopia Ghana Indonesia Iran Kenya

• • • • • • • • •

Myanmar Nigeria Pakistan São Tomé and Príncipe Sri Lanka Syria Tanzania Thailand Turkey

Eric Jordan is Managing Director of Professional Portfolio International (PPI) with offices in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Tel: 02 664 0968 Email: eric.jordan@ppiadvisory.com

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

25


Shrinking QROPS landscape causes concern for expats By Billy Popham

F

our years ago, when I penned an article on Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS), I warned that Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling would not be happy with the income tax revenue that he was losing via the transfer of pensions away from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) jurisdiction and that if the mis-selling continued it could give the government an excuse to close a potentially lucrative vehicle for expatriates. The mis-selling of QROPS carried on unabated, mainly via New Zealand, where the schemes allowed people to take 100 percent of the value of their pensions out from day one. As the principle behind QROPS is that the Trustees enter into a spirit of cooperation with HMRC to provide an income for life for the pensioner it was clear that HMRC was very unhappy with this state of affairs. New draft legislation was announced in December 2011 that outlawed this practice from April 2012, leaving anyone who had taken this option looking over their shoulder in fear of a large tax bill from HMRC. As well as stopping so called ‘pension busting’, the encashment of 100 percent of the funds, the stricter legislation also effectively closed many third party jurisdictions to new business. The most high profile casualty of this new legislation is Guernsey, despite the attempt by authorities on the island to realign its pension leg-

26

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Bernard Jackson, from the International Consortium of British Pensioners, delivered a strong protest to 10 Downing Street about frozen pensions.

islation to fit within HMRC’s new rules. HMRC quoted a vague but all encompassing statement within the new legislation to shut the door on over 300 Guernsey QROP schemes. Guernsey is considering its options in fighting back but history has taught us that battles against HMRC are rarely won.

Guernsey of their new 157E pensions to fit within the new rules actually contravened this legislation.

The legislation stated that pension schemes ‘in countries or territories will be excluded from being a QROPS’ where this jurisdiction ‘makes legislation or otherwise creates or uses a pension scheme to provide tax advantages that are not intended to be available under the QROPS rules’. HMRC has deemed that the formation by the States of

Third Party Jurisdiction refers to Guernsey, Malta or New Zealand as the third party where the first party is the UK and the second party is your selected retirement jurisdiction such as Thailand.

This led to the States of Guernsey Treasury Minister Charles Parkinson stating, “It is now clear that the UK wants to scrap the idea of third party jurisdiction QROPS.

With current Chancellor George Osborne increasing the pressure on HMRC’s Chief Executive Lin Homer


to tackle tax avoidance (legal) and tax evasion (illegal) to raise more revenue it is clear that HMRC will tighten the screw wherever they can to help the UK recovery programme.

ever if the door slams shut on third party jurisdictions you will be left paying a lot more in UK tax, even if you no intention of ever returning to live there.

It is also worth remembering that, in August 2010, the Department for Work and Pensions issued a consultation paper in which a ban was proposed from April 2012 on contracted-out defined benefit schemes (also known as final salary schemes where your pension income is based on number of years of service and your salary at retirement) transferring to defined contribution schemes (where your pension will depend on the contributions that you have made and the subsequent investment performance of your pension fund).

Nobody foresaw the recent legislation and the very sudden demise of Guernsey QROPS. You may rest assured that when the time comes for New Zealand and Malta things will happen very quickly once again. The last thing HMRC wants is to give everyone advance notice so they may move their pension funds to a QROPS and deny HMRC the revenue.

This proposal, met with tremendous resistance from the pensions industry, was not enacted. It would have stopped many expatriates transferring to QROPS. When HMRC officials let the QROPS genie out of the bottle in April 2006 they probably had no idea just how big the QROPS market place could become. So far some GBP 1.8 billion has been transferred to QROPS and it is estimated that the potential total value of the QROPS market is GBP 650 billion. More than five million British subjects live abroad with nearly 1,000 people emigrating from the UK every day. The income tax revenue that is being lost to HMRC is substantial and could increase exponentially. The UK coalition government, faced with a GBP 163 billion deficit left by the last Labour government, is looking to generate as much tax revenue as possible so it remains to be seen just how long the remaining third party jurisdictions stay open for new business. Why we have QROPS So if the government are slowly squeezing the life blood out of QROPS you may wonder why HMRC set them up in the first place. This was due to the Maastricht Treaty and the subsequent federal directive that allowed ‘freedom of movement of capital. It

took over 12 years after the Maastricht Treaty was ratified (Nov 1993) but, when the 2004 Finance Act came into law on 6th April 2006, it marked the birth of QROPS. The Maastricht Treaty formalised the European Union and with it the four freedoms which form the underlying principles of the Union. These are the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and - significantly for expat pensioners - the freedom of movement of capital. So, QROPS is the result of an EU directive rather than any act of generosity on behalf of HMRC. But why would HMRC close down all the Guernsey QROPS, knowing that this will only mean that this business is placed via Malta or New Zealand? Quite simply, because HMRC will be looking for any reason, however tenuous, to close these other jurisdictions as part of their drive to increase tax revenue - provided that they are not contravening the EU ‘freedom of movement of capital directive. Why you should act now Anyone who believes that third party jurisdiction QROPS will be around forever has no grasp of the UK’s fiscal deficit and is, therefore, being quite naive. I understand the argument that you could move your pension to a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) now and on to a QROPS later, so as to save on Trustees fees. How-

QROPS are not for everyone, however, and it is important that you receive sound, unbiased advice in this area. You should ask for a transfer analysis that, in the case of transferring final salary schemes, will give you a critical yield analysis both before and after retirement to see if the numbers add up. With the yields on 10 year UK Government bonds at just 1.81 percent at the time of writing (the lowest level since the Bank of England started keeping records in 1703 current transfer values on final salary schemes are at an all-time high. Procrastination could prove to be very expensive.

Billy Popham joined MBMG in 2006 after running his own successful independent financial advisory practice in the City of London. Billy was the first financial advisor in Thailand to effect successful transfers from UK pensions to QROPS. He has transferred over 50 schemes and remains one of South East Asia’s leading QROPS experts. Tel: 02 665 2534 Ext. 137 Mobile: 089 200 6105 Email: billy@mbmginternational.com

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

27


EU slams nations over trade protectionism T

he EU has identified a ‘staggering increase in protectionism around the world’, with 123 new trade restrictions introduced over the last eight months – a rise of just over 25 percent. This brings the total number of restrictive measures in place today to 534. In its latest report on potentially trade-restrictive measures, the European Commission points to a failure by the G20 countries to reduce trade barriers and states that members of the G20 must do more to prevent the introduction of new barriers to trade and, in addition, must rectify protective measures introduced since the break-out of the crisis. “Clearly, G20 members need to seriously step up their efforts to fight protectionism. I am very concerned to see the sharp rise in trade-restrictive measures in the last few months alone”, said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. “Let us remind ourselves that the G20 pledged to end such practices and that protectionism benefits no one. It sends the wrong signal to global trading partners, it sends the wrong signal to investors and it sends the wrong signal to the business community which relies on a predictable business climate.” The main conclusions of the report are as follows: • Between September 2011 and 1st May 2012, on average more than 15 new measures were introduced each month as compared to less than 12 new measures per month the year before: the pace of introduction of new restrictive measures has accelerated. Overall, 123 new trade-restrictive measures have been intro28

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht

duced in the last eight months • The state of G20 countries’ compliance with regards to the removal of existing measures remains clearly insufficient. Between September 2011 and 1st May 2012, the roll-back of measures slowed down: only 13 measures have been removed, compared to 40 measures between October 2010 and September 2011. Overall, only about 17 percent (89) of the measures have so far been removed or lapsed since October 2008 • At the global level trade is showing signs of good recovery, even with a short-lived contraction observed mid-2011. Despite their growing economic weight and increasing role in the global economy, emerging economies continue to resort to the highest number of traderestrictive measures, often as part of new national industrialisation plans • Restrictions affecting foreign direct investment, such as Argen-

tina’s decision to expropriate 51 percent of YPF shares owned by the Spanish company Repsol, substantially impact EU investors’ confidence to invest abroad as it increases unpredictability • Russia deserves close scrutiny as one of the most frequent users of trade-restrictive measures that may not be in conformity with its obligations as an upcoming member of the WTO • The EU calls on G20 Members to implement the pledge more effectively by reinforcing transparency and enhancing the timely and full notification of all measures which would enable closer monitoring of protectionism This report is the ninth in the series of periodic reports to assess traderestrictive developments in world trade. It is prepared by the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission and approved by the 27 Member States of the EU. Report-


ing activities were launched in October 2008 after the outbreak of the economic and financial crisis, with the objective to take regular stock of compliance of G20 countries with the commitment not to resort to traderestrictive measures and remove those in place without delay, made initially at the G20 Summit in November 2008 in Washington. At the London Summit in April 2009, G20 members committed to rectifying measures that have already been taken since the beginning of the crisis. Successive summits, including the latest G20 summit in Cannes in November 2011, extended the commitments until 2013, confirmed the engagement to roll-back measures in place and provided an explicit mandate to the WTO, OECD and UNCTAD to monitor and to report publicly on the evolution of the situation on a semi-annual basis. The EU is firmly committed to this pledge. Its own current report complements and confirms the findings of the monitoring report issued by the WTO in cooperation with UNCTAD and the OECD on 31 May 2012.

What are trade barriers? • Import and export restrictions in the form of higher import or export duties or lower export quotas applied at the border of a country • “Behind-the-border” measures such as “technical barriers to trade” in the form of conformity assessment and certification requirements, which are applied in a stricter way on imported goods or which go beyond international practices and requirements • Barriers in the area of services and investments often discriminate against foreign providers of services or foreign investors Some examples of existing trade-restrictive measures: • Argentina recently extended new burdensome administrative pre-registration procedures to all imports of goods • India – a significant producer of cotton – imposed an export ban on raw cotton • Russia is currently preparing legislation containing preferences for domestically produced cars in public procurement

Which countries are being monitored? The report covers 31 of the EU’s main trading partners, including the G20 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, and Vietnam.

Britain in South East Asia (BiSEA) Cambodia British Business Association of Cambodia c/o Top Recruitment Cambodia 592, Building F, Phnom Penh Centre Corner Sothearos & Sihanouk Boulevards, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tel: 855-23-997-492 Fax: 855-23-997-493 Email: secretary@bbacambodia.com Website: www.bbacambodia.com Chairman: Tom Sterling Committee Secretary: Kevin Britten Indonesia British Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia Wisma Metropolitan 1, 15th Floor, Jl. Jend, Sudirman Kav 29-31 Jakarta, Indonesia 12920 Tel: 62-21-522-9453 Fax: 62-21-527-9135 Email: bisnis@britcham.or.id Website: www.britcham.or.id Chairman: Haslam Preeston Executive Director: Chris Wren Malaysia British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce E04C1, 4th Floor East Block Wisma Selangor Dredging, 142-B Jalan Ampang 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: 603-2163-1784 /1786 Fax: 603-2163-1781 Email: britcham@bmcc.org.my Website: www.bmcc.org.my Chairman: Dato Larry Gan Director, Business Development: Molly Jagpal Philippines British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines c/o The British Embassy Manila 120 Upper McKinley Road McKinley Hill, Taguig City 1634 Metro Manila, Philippines Tel: 632-858-2255/858-2372/858-2373 Fax: 632-858-2390 Email: secretariat@bccphil.com Website: www.bccphil.com Chairman: Keith Perrin Executive Director: Alison Doig Henderson Singapore British Chamber of Commerce in Singapore 138 Cecil Street, #11-01 Cecil Court Singapore 069538 Tel: 65-6222-3552 Fax: 65-6222-3556 Email: info@britcham.org.sg Website: www.britcham.org.sg President: Mr. Steve Puckett Executive Director: Brigitte Holtschneider

Thailand British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) 7th Floor, 208 Wireless Road, Lumpini Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Tel: 66-2651-5350-3 Fax: 66-2651-5354 Email: greg@bccthai.com Website: www.bccthai.com Chairman: Simon Landy Executive Director: Greg Watkins Vietnam British Business Group Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City G/F 25 Le Duan Blvd, District 1 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: 84-8-3829-8430 Fax: 84-8-3822-5172 Email: execdirector@bbgv.org Website: www.bbgv.org Hanoi 67 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: 84 4 6674 0945 Chairman: Patrick Regis Executive Director: Jakki Lydall

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

29


Fresh hopes for recovery as region’s lending environment improves A

denced by robust interest for retail and logistics assets. This, combined with the tight lending environment beginning to ease as central banks across the region adjust monetary policy, will likely have a positive effect on the market.

sia Pacific investment volume fell 42 percent to US$11.6 billion (THB 362.9 billion) in Q1 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. That’s according to the latest Asia Pacific Capital Markets MarketView report published by CBRE. Despite subdued sentiment in Q2, investment volume is expected to increase in the coming months, given continued investor interest in noncore assets and an easing lending environment, the report states. The slow start to the year was driven in part by New Year holidays in January and the high investment volume witnessed in 2H 2011 which removed several assets from the market. The only market to buck the downward trend was Hong Kong, where investment volume surged 100 percent q-o-q thanks to the improved lending environment. All other markets across Asia Pacific saw a decrease in investment volume. James Pitchon, Executive Director and head of CBRE Research, Thailand, said, “Thailand continued to steadily recover from the floods. Local private investors displayed a renewed interest in acquiring income producing assets. The period also saw a Singapore-based property fund acquiring an office building in Bangkok. Residential developers of low-rise housing have focussed upon new land acquisition in areas that were not flooded.” The CBRE report adds: Domestic capital continued to drive the market, while cross border acquisitions declined. Domestic capital during Q1 2012 accounted for nearly 86 percent of the total investment volume. Deals completed by 30

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

The tight lending environment in Asia Pacific began to alleviate in Q1 2012 as a number of central banks across the region adjusted monetary policy. The Bank of Thailand maintained the policy rate at three percent to support a smooth recovery of economic activity to normal levels while keeping inflation within target. James Pitchon

Asia REITs, domestic private investors and end-users comprised 55 percent of total investment turnover, up from 44 percent recorded in Q4 2011. On the other hand, cross-border acquisitions continued to slide in Q1, falling 69 percent q-o-q to US$1.6 billion (THB 50 billion) and accounting for just 14 percent of the total investment volume during the period. Investors continued to shift their focus away from core office assets on account of the slowing leasing market, lack of quality product for sale and more attractive yields available in other sectors. Investment volume for office assets was just half of that recorded in Q4 2011, while volume in the retail sector was stable, down just four percent q-o-q. Demand for this product is anticipated to increase as domestic consumption grows and international retailers expand across the region. Demand from local investors should remain firm in the near future, as evi-

“Activity is expected to pick up over the coming months. Domestic capital will continue to account for the bulk of transactions as institutional investors, particularly the larger international groups, remain cautious about the global outlook. Investors will continue to shift their focus away from core office assets to other sectors where more attractive yields are available,” said Dr. Nick Axford, Executive Director and Head of CBRE Research - Asia Pacific. Greg Penn, Executive Director, CBRE Investment Properties - Asia observed, “The lending environment improved in Q1 2012 and the trend is likely to continue. The further easing of inflation will provide extra room for interest rate cuts, a move which could rejuvenate buying activity as investors are given access to lower borrowing rates. Many developers in India and China continue to face liquidity challenges. This will provide opportunities for investors to provide capital and acquire asset portfolios.” Note: US$ 1 = THB 31.29


Royal British Legion needs your support

T

RBL members travelled from all over Thailand to visit the Chungkai War Cemetery at Kanchanaburi with British Ambassador Asif Ahmad.

he RBLT was formed in 2007 and now boasts almost three hundred members throughout the country. Below are some interesting facts and statistics relating to the Legion: • The Royal British Legion safeguards the welfare, interests and memory of serving and ex-Service people and their families and dependants • The Legion was founded in 1921 • Some 9.5 million people in the UK and around the world are eligible to ask for its help. This also includes Gurkhas living in South East Asia as well as minority groups such as the Karen, Kachin and Shan peoples who fought for Britain in WWII • The Legion is one of the UK’s largest membership organisations, with around 360,000 members - including the Women’s Section. Anyone can be a member, ex-Service or not • People as young as 17.5 years can be sent on active service, so veterans are often much younger than people realise • There has only been one year (1968) since the Second World

• •

War when a British Service person hasn’t been killed on active service Each year the Legion answers thousands of calls for help to its helpline - Legionline It helps with a huge range of issues, including counselling, job retraining, skills assessment, getting the right pensions and benefits, money and career advice, welfare grants, pilgrimages to war graves, convalescent and nursing care, and home and hospital visits The Legion has close links to many other charities, organisations and trusts, enabling it to draw on the best resources and expertise, and to refer people to those best equipped to help them The Legion will be needed for as long as people continue to be affected by conflict. It does not advocate war but is simply there to support those who have been prepared to make a personal sacrifice through serving in the British Armed Forces More than 30 million Remembrance poppies, 500,000 poppies of other types, 5 million remembrance petals, 100,000 wreaths and sprays, 750,000 Remembrance Crosses and other Remembrance items are made at the

• •

Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey, each year More than 70% of the workers at the Poppy Factory are disabled or suffer from chronic illness. The Poppy Factory was designed to offer jobs to such people and its remit remains the same today The Royal British Legion Thailand (RBLT) also supports the Thai Veterans Association Just as importantly, RBLT provides help and support for the families of servicemen who live in Thailand and can no longer do it themselves There are four areas in Thailand where the RBLT is based – Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Korat and Pattaya. There are qualified welfare workers in each of these placed thus allowing the Legion to cover the entire country

If you are interested in joining this well known organisation then please contact Bert Elson, Secretary RBLT, on secretary@ rblthailand.com. Please remember, you do not have to have served in the armed forces to be a member.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

31


Happy and glorious Four days of public celebrations to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ended with an impressive fly past that featured the Battle of Britain flight and the Red Arrows. Wintry conditions failed to deter many thousands from witnessing the river pageant. Music legends, including Dame Shirley Bassey and four Knights of the Realm, entertained the Royal Family and lucky ticket holders at a memorable concert in front of Buckingham Palace. It was, quite simply, the best of British.

32 32 The Brief The BriefIssueIssue 3/2012 3/2012


The Brief The Brief Issue Issue 3/2012 3/201233 33


Many happy returns Ambassador Asif Ahmad, above, proposes the loyal toast to Her Majesty The Queen upon the occasion of a celebratory party hosted by the British Embassy in Thailand to mark The Queen’s Official Birthday and the Diamond Jubilee. The party was held in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Bangkok.

34 34 The Brief The BriefIssueIssue 3/2012 3/2012


helping the needy

BCTFN partners with Wildflower Home to aid single mothers

W

ildflower Home is a shelter for pregnant girls and single mothers in crisis where they can rebuild their lives. Every day it is brimming with activity. While focusing upon what is most important, their relationship with their child or children, mothers also will be working on Wildflower Home’s small sustainability farm, going to classes and trying to do some income generation activities.

boundaries. She was able to continue studying English and computer at Wildflower Home before giving birth to a healthy baby boy. Jan remained in touch with her parents from time to time. Her parents met their new grandson at a Thai New Year’s celebration at a relative’s house. Earlier this month Jan came to my office with a huge smile across her face. Her parents had called to ask her to return home.

Young mothers meet with a social worker to set goals for their future and work to meet those goals. These goals can be as simple as learning to ride a bicycle for the first time, or as complicated as trying to start a small business. Some mothers will return to school after giving birth while Wildflower Home provides a caring environment for their children. Pim, a young Akha mother, came to Wildflower Home in December 2011. Her husband left Pim and her two children, aged three and eighteen months, and never returned home. Out of money and nowhere to turn, Pim went to the government home to ask for shelter. The government home referred Pim to Wildflower Home. Together with the social worker, Pim worked out a plan to start a small business selling papaya salad and grilled chicken after six months of studying English, receiving emotional support and obtaining her Thai driver’s licence as well as caring for her children. Pim worked enthusiastically toward all her goals and has recently set up her small shop near Wildflower Home, open for seven hours each day. She continues to live at Wild-

BCTFN has partnered with Wildflower Home since 2008 to help provide the infrastructure necessary to facilitate services to a vulnerable population of women and children who have no other place to turn in their moment of need.

flower Home until she proves to herself that she can bring in enough income to pay rent and be self-sustaining. Wildflower Home will care for Pim’s children for as long as is needed to help her stand on her own. Jan is a Thai woman who got pregnant as a freshman in college. Her boyfriend had no interest in taking responsibility for the child. Jan’s parents considered her pregnancy an embarrassment and encouraged her to have an abortion. When she insisted that she wanted to keep her child, they forbid her from returning home. Jan finished her term at school and came to Wildflower Home. She was happy to be given jobs that matched her own skills, such as helping with book keeping and translating some easy documents. She learned a lot about healthy relationships and

BCTFN has provided funding for mattresses and furnishings of the women’s shelter, a much-needed access bridge with a gate into the property, a well and filtering system, furnishings for the dining room, kitchen and income generation room and, most recently, a grant for educational supplies and equipment for the healthy development of children. Wildflower Home is most grateful for this partnership and all who have helped make a new life possible for young single mothers and their children. The BCTFN Committee meets monthly to review new proposals for assistance and assess the progress of current projects. Emphasis is given to sustainable self-help projects and long term community projects – in particular health/medical, educational, communal projects and disaster relief. More details: bctfn@loxinfo.co.th Tel: 02 204 1587

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

35


ATS celebrates in style at House of Lords By Stephanie Zarach

Ambassadors past and present join other guests at the ATS 50th birthday party.

A

50th anniversary is an auspicious event for the Anglo-Thai Society (ATS), not least when it is held in the year of a Diamond Jubilee. Four days of celebrations were held in the UK at the beginning of June to mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s sixty years on the British throne. The Queen is the second longest reigning monarch in the world today, after His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has reigned in Thailand for sixty-six years. Gathered together at a splendid dinner in the House of Lords, in a room overlooking the River Thames that would have been a perfect spot to see Queen Elizabeth II’s river pageant go by, the members of the Anglo-Thai Society celebrated their half century. As Thailand’s UK Ambassador Kitti Wasinondh pointed out, 2012 also marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of Anglo-Thai relations when, in August 1612, King James I sent a letter to the King of Siam. Let us now fast forward several hundred years to the 1960s, the decade when the Anglo-Thai Society was formed. In a clear signal that Thai36

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Traditional Thai culture was an integral part of the celebrations.

land wanted to develop relations with other countries and would welcome businessmen and tourists, the King and Queen of Thailand embarked in 1960 upon an ambitious programme of state visits to countries in Asia and Europe as well as the USA. They arrived in London on 19 July by train at Victoria Station, where they were greeted by Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. A full state procession from Victoria Station to Buckingham Palace along the Mall followed, with Queen Elizabeth and the King of Thailand in the first carriage and Queen Sirikit with Prince Philip in the second. The procession was witness by a large crowd that included many Thais then living in the UK, all of them waiting patiently under their umbrellas in the rain in similar fashion to the Diamond Jubilee processions held this June. The Royal guests stayed in Buckingham Palace. The King of Thailand’s visit to Britain helped to create an ideal setting for the formation of the Anglo-Thai Society in 1962. There were already close ties between the two kingdoms

and Thai people had long been living in Britain. Samaggi Samagom, the Thai Association (which later became the Thai Students’ Association), was established in 1901 by King Rama VI to bring Thais living in Britain together through a variety of events and activities. More Thais were coming to live in the UK and the 1960s was a time when more British tourists were venturing beyond Europe. Amongst the original founders of the Society were Prince Chula Chakrabongse, Thailand’s UK Ambassador M.L.Bheektip Malakul, Dr Roland Bramley and John Weston. The Society was set up in the autumn of 1962 with support from the Royal Thai Embassy, a group of former British Ambassadors to Thailand, British people that had returned from work in Thailand, Thai and British businessmen in Britain and, finally, Samaggi Samagom. In the 50 years of its existence the ATS has organised and attended very many events in the furtherance of relations and understanding between the two countries. With the sponsor-


Thailand’s Ambassador to the UK Kitti Wasinondh, fifth from right, is joined by guests at the celebration dinner.

welcoming society which works closely in the UK with the Royal Thai Embassy, Samaggi Samagom, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Asia House, Thai Societies at various universities, Thai and British businesses and the Royal Over-Seas League. Its links in Thailand include the British Chamber of Commerce (BCCT), the British Embassy, the British Club, the Old England Students’ Association and the Siam Society.

David Fall, Nutchnart Wasinondh, Gwendolyn Fall and Kitti Wasinondh

ship of several British peers, Lord Geddes being the current patron of the ATS, annual receptions have been held at the House of Lords. There are a variety of other events, including winter receptions with award ceremonies for Thai students, visits to the Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon, art exhibitions and theatres, lunches at Thai restaurants, celebrations for Songkran festival, participation in the annual Festival of Thailand and talks about Thai culture and history. The ATS has also raised funds for Thai people in need, such as for Tsunami Relief, the ‘New Life Project’ centre for abused children in Kanchanburi, the

Quinton Quayle (left) and David Fall

Thai Red Cross (for support to victims of the 2011 floods), the Elephant Conservation Network and the Karen Hill Tribes Trust. There has also support for the education of Thai students in financial difficulties. In addition, the ATS scheme of Educational Awards for Excellence, an honorary award to acknowledge the achievements of Thai postgraduates studying in British universities, was set up in 2005. It receives support from Ambassador Wasinondh and other sponsors including Liverpool University, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Bangkok Bank. The ATS continues to be a friendly and

The 50th anniversary dinner celebrated all of the Anglo-Thai Society’s achievements. Current chairman David Fall, former UK Ambassador to Thailand, thanked the many sponsors who had not only supported the dinner but ensured that each guest received an amazing ‘going home’ bag of Thai gifts. Ambassador Wasinondh, who will soon complete his term as Ambassador to the UK, gave a splendid speech. Also in attendance were former Ambassadors to Thailand Sir James Hodge, Quinton Quayle, Justin Staples and Derek Tonkin as well as former ATS chairman Kevin Thorne, Lord Geddes Deputy Speaker of House of Lords, and Bernard Coe – Honorary President ATS, former Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand and former Chairman of the ATS. The Brief

Issue 3/2012

37


Time to act on clean air living By Duncan French

C

lean air is a basic requirement for healthy living. When we think about clean air we think of a breezy day on the coast but, unfortunately, most of us live in crowded cities and spend much of our day in offices. This is very different to the ideal but fortunately our bodies are pretty good at coping with most of the differences.

cooling costs or, in some cases, block all outside air – an understandable but unhealthy practice. Others have far too much outside air coming in which not only wastes large sums of money but also affects the air quality because humidity and pollutants are that much higher. Either scenario can place the building into the category of being affected by sick building syndrome.

That is not a reason for ignoring the ever growing problem of air pollution – particularly in circumstances that we can control ourselves. Most standards for indoor air quality use a few basic measures to determine the ‘quality’ or maybe we should say ‘healthiness’, the two main parameters being relative humidity and temperature. Together they makeup the ‘thermal comfort’ of our living and working spaces.

Other pollutants in air-conditioned buildings come from a wide variety of sources; a very common problem these days is volatile organic compounds. Modern furniture, carpeting, furnishings, solvent, airfresheners and paints are the main source of this new wave of pollutants that seriously affect people and, in particular, children. There are products that claim to be ‘voc free’ but they are not mainstream and certainly not the lowest price.

Duncan French

Living in Thailand, and particularly Bangkok, we continually face the problem of air pollution – mainly because the humidity is so high throughout the year. High humidity creates the atmosphere for bacteria and mould to grow and this effects how we perceive air quality.

ditioning systems but this presents its own set of problems. A perfectly balanced air-conditioning system introduces 10 percent outside air to the system and recycles 90 percent. Notice we say outside air and not fresh air – and anyone walking along Silom Road in Bangkok will appreciate the difference. The outside air has to be cooled when it is brought in and this is an expensive operation.

Many people suffer from severe allergenic reactions to air-borne mould and bacteria but most of us only suffer from itchy throats, sniffles and sometimes low grade fevers. The British Occupational Hygiene Society says that absenteeism can be considerably reduced by improved indoor air quality control.

This air also carries pollutants that cause smells, illness and corrosion. However, without the outside air the content of carbon dioxide will rise and this also affects people. You will recognise signs of drowsiness in the afternoon because the building has been occupied all day and the carbon dioxide content has risen.

In air-conditioned buildings, humidity is controlled by the air-con-

Some building managers reduce the outside air intake to reduce their

38

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

The solutions fall into two categories, emergency and continuing. One of the most common emergency problems in hotels in Thailand is unpleasant smells caused by guests, primarily from tobacco residue but also from cooking, bodily odours and food products. Most hotels have had these problems and many have started to use high-powered portable ozone generators which can deodorise and decontaminate a room in less than thirty minutes. The same machines can be used to deal with volatile organic compounds and are widely used in western countries for cleaning up after fire and flood damage.


General Manager Duncan French is pictured during a site visit to Valaya Alongkorn Rajabhat University.

Continuing problems need to be analysed and require an expert indoor air quality (IAG) technician to investigate. A number of deluxe quality hotels include an annual IAQ test in the standard operating procedures. An IAQ test is simple, inexpensive and non-invasive and will produce some very interesting information for even the cleanest of buildings.

and reduce post-operative contamination.

The most effective continuing solution involves installing various types of equipment into the air-conditioning system and into areas that have concentrations of staff, children or patients (in hospitals and clinics).

One particular bug-bear all over the world is public conveniences. It is an unpleasant fact that they smell and the chemicals used to deal with the problem only mask the smell rather than eliminating it.

The most effective equipment uses ultra violet–C band (UVC) technology, which is now mandatory in all US government buildings. Many hospitals in the United States use UVC to combat air-borne infection

These chemicals, often air-borne, are also pollutants in their own right and cleaning up the residue can be a problem. A more effective solution is to use fixed low-powered ozone machines that continually sanitise

UVC installed in the main air handling units not only improve the air quality but also clean the cooling coils – thereby eliminating the need for regular costly maintenance by keeping essential components of the a/c system in an as new condition throughout their working lives.

and deodorise the air, eliminating the need for costly chemicals. Ozone rapidly breaks down into oxygen, leaving no residue except a natural fresh air smell. Achieving clean indoor air will be a continuing battle as long as we need to live in temperature and humidity regulated structures. There are cost effective ways to deal with many of the problems and the best way to start is to analyse what you have, thus allowing you to find the best ways to improve.

Duncan French is General Manager, Clean Air (Thailand) Co., Ltd Tel: 02-656-9478 Email:duncan@ cleanairthailand.com

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

39


Collaboration is key as ICW seeks to aid UK firms T

he Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW), formerly known as Partnership Sourcing Limited – PSL, was established in 1990 as a joint initiative between the UK government’s Department of Trade and Industry (now BIS – Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and the CBI (Confederation of British Industry). The Institute is totally self-financing as a not-for-profit organisation. The Institute’s role is to help large and small organisations in both the private and public sectors to build and develop effective competitive business relationships based upon a collaborative approach. The Institute provides practical guidance, based on a wide portfolio of experience, utilising knowledge from extensive network of relationships within the business, government and academic communities. The Institute is the thought leader and driving force behind the development of BS 11000 which is based on the CRAFT methodology developed from the collective experience of the Institute’s Executive Network. BS 11000 is the world’s first standard for relationship management – published by British Standards Institution in December 2010. BS 11000 is a collaborative business relationship framework resulting from a joint initiative between BSI and the UK-based Institute for Collaborative Working. BS 11000 is expected to become an ISO standard within the next few years. BS 11000 is supported by a certification process whereby organisa-

40

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

spread development of collaborative working skills by providing training and development programmes. Underpinning the whole process the Institute is progressively building a global collaboratively-working, knowledge-sharing community

tions can submit their collaborative working processes for scrutiny by skilled BSI assessors. Those satisfying the rigorous BSI assessment are awarded a certificate of conformance to the standard. So far some 20 organisations have achieved BS 110000 certification, with a further 160 at various stages of the journey.

The Institute is guided by an influential Board of Directors. The accumulated knowledge of the Institute has come from the Executive Network comprising senior representative from major PLCs, Government departments and university professors who share their experiences via the Institute to the wider business community. What started as a UK initiative is now gaining considerable interest from across the word notably in the USA, Australia and the Middle East.

BS 11000 is applicable to collaborative working relationships with clients, with supplier; for alliances and for large organisations for the internal relationship hand offs. BS 1100 is not sector specific as collaborative working issues are common across business sectors. Those so far achieving certification have come from a range of sectors, notably defence, rail, ICT and facilities management. The Institute aims to be recognised and acknowledged as the thought leader on collaborative working. In order to achieve this, the Institute carries out research to develop collaborative working principles, practices and processes. The Institute ensures the wide-

For more information please contact Les Pyle, Chief Executive. Email: les.pyle@icw.uk.com. Institute for Collaborative Working, Sullivan House,4 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1 0DH Tel: + 44 (0) 207 824 1801 www.instituteforcollaborativeworking. com


Member News

Jobs fear for bmi staff as IAG completes takeover T

he parent company of British Airways, International Airlines Group, has moved quickly to offload the regional arm of UK carrier bmi. IAG purchased bmi from Lufthansa for £8m in a deal designed to bolster its position at London’s busy Heathrow airport where take-off and landing slots are at a premium. The deal, subject to approval by the Civil Aviation Authority, is expected to secure of around 330 jobs. IAG bought bmi to bolster its position at London’s overcrowded Heathrow airport. The move comes less than a month after the completion of IAG’s purchase of bmi, which was bought to bolster its position at London’s overcrowded Heathrow airport. The regional division of bmi, based in Aberdeen, runs scheduled services from 14 Scottish, English and northern European airports. When Lufthansa sold the company to IAG it reduced the sale price substantially because it had failed

It could be a bumpy landing for bmi baby.

to offload the division. The consortium buying the bmi Regional includes former Business Air chief Ian Woodley. Business Air was amalgamated into bmi Regional in 1996. Mr Woodley said, “The company will continue to trade as bmi Regional and it is very much our aim to consolidate the business and develop the network in both the UK and Europe.”

The future of bmibaby, the no-frills airline, is less certain. IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh has told trades unions that the airline could be closed by this September, putting some 470 jobs at risk, if a buyer is not found. Plans have already been announced to stop some bmibaby services from Belfast, Birmingham and east Midlands airports. The CBRE team in Thailand has landed five top property awards. At the recent Asia Pacific Property Awards the company received top honours for Best Consultancy, Agency, and Website at the recent Asia Pacific Property Awards in Kuala Lumpur. At Asia Pacific level CBRE Thailand also won awards for Best Real Estate Agency and Best Property Consultancy.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

41


Member News

NIST continues support for flood victims T

he New International School of Thailand (NIST) is continuing to provide vital support for flood victims. The Wat Bang Phueng school in Lopburi and the Lamlukka public library in Pathumthani were under water for several weeks during the devastating floods of 2011. Staff, parents and pupils from NIST visited both locations to assess the level of support required. Priorities at Wat Bang Phueng School included the rebuilding of staff housing, a playground for children attending the kindergarten, landscaping around the school and refurbishing tables and chairs. At Lamlukka public library work was needed to fix broken water pipes, paint the exterior of the building and surrounding fencing, provide new play equipment for younger library visitors and refurbish furniture.

NIST staff, parents and pupils continue their vital flood relief work.

Using the generous donations received from the NIST community, substantial work has now been carried out at the school and the library. At Wat Bang Phueng school the donations included new play-

ground equipment, plants for landscaping, wood and materials for staff housing, 80 new chairs and 10 meeting tables. Students and staff also spent many hours rebuilding the staff housing, completing the new flooring, and planting new flowers at the school entrance. At Lopburi public library NIST students, staff and parents helped with the repainting and also donated furniture and toys. NIST has also identified families who were hit hard by the floods. Students are continuing to work with two families of children with special needs whose homes were submerged for several weeks.

NIST tennis ace Pran Phakdeekitcharoen is the new Thailand Junior Champion (14 years old age group). The Year 9 student now has more than 50 tennis trophies to his name.

42

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Students found there learning experiences to be invaluable. Year 12 student Irene Laochaisri said, “The few hours we spent at the library getting paint on our clothes and pulling weeds out of the cracks on the pavements was more about getting active with the local community than simply lending a helping hand.�


Slight fall for Bangkok office vacancy rates O

ffice vacancies in the Asia Pacific region continued a slow decline in Q1 2012, but this trend could end in the second half of 2012. That’s the finding of the latest Asia Pacific Office MarketView report published by CBRE.

The report states that the minor dip in overall office vacancies across Asia Pacific resulted from diverging performance in markets across the region. Nearly half the countries in Asia Pacific recorded a drop in vacancies, slightly offsetting those regions that experienced an increase. Overall vacancies in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing continued to decline, while Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi all saw vacancies rise. In Bangkok, the Grade-A CBD vacancy rate fell to 18.3 percent, down from 20.5 percent in Q4 2011, as space in two new buildings completed in late 2011 was gradually filled. Limited fu-

All Seasons Place, Bangkok

ture supply and steady leasing momentum will support further rental growth in 2012, states the CBRE report. Tenants seeking for Grade-A offices in Bangkok’s CBD have a lim-

ited choice, particularly the larger space users. According to CBRE Research in Thailand, there will be only 390,000 square metres under construction due for completion by the end of 2014.

Knight Frank strengthens team at Global Corporate Services

K

Global Corporate Services. Tony Nicholas has worked at Knight Frank for 25 years and was previously head of the Knight Frank Bristol office.

extensive global platform and well known reputation for a personalised service, is well placed to take advantage of this.”

Knight Franks’ GCS teams are aligned with US partner Newmark Grubb Knight Franks to offer a global platform operating under the brand Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

He said, “Developing strong relationships with corporate occupiers across national and international borders, and assisting them in their real estate requirements across the world, is becoming more and more important. Knight Frank, with its

Alex Hill, based in Singapore for the last 13 years, will manage the region’s corporate services. He has over 20 years’ experience in corporate real estate services and has worked with clients across the APAC region – including many Fortune 500 firms.

night Frank has appointed Tony Nicholas as head of the Global Corporate Services (GCS) EMEA team in London and Alex Hill as head of GCS Asia Pacific based in Singapore.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

43


Member News

Samir takes lead at new Okura Prestige Bangkok O ne of Thailand’s most experience hoteliers is the General Manager at new Okura Prestige Bangkok.

Samir Wildemann, with more 25 years of experience in hotel management in Europe and Asia, is regarded as one of the country’s most experienced hospitality professionals. He is leading a team of almost 400 staff at the new hotel that forms part of the impressive Parkview Ventures Ecoplex building on Wireless Road. The hotel, with 240 rooms and suites, three restaurants and a cantilevered swimming pool on the 25th floor, has direct access to Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain network at Phloen Chit station.

Samir Wildemann (third from left) with his management team at the Okura Prestige Bangkok.

British Ambassador to Thailand Asif Ahmad presided over the graduation ceremony of the class of 2012 at the British International School, Phuket. Destinations for the class 2012 are: University of Leeds, University of Sheffield, University of Bath, Oxford Brookes University, University of Leicester, L’École Hôtelière de Lausanne, University of British Columbia, Murdoch University, Australian National University, Copenhagen Business School, The Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, New York University, Chapman University, Bryant University, Waseda University, Concordia University, University of Queensland, Griffiths University, University of Southern California, Hamburg School of Business Administration, Chapman University, Bryant University, Monash University, Appalachian State University, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Ewha Womens University Korea, University of Calgary, University of Hong Kong, Chulalongkorn University, Assumption University, International University of Applied Science Bad Honnef Germany.

44

The Brief

Issue 3/2012


HSBC takes lead in Flying the flag currency crosses for Great H Britain SBC has rolled out six new currency trading pairs tied to the offshore RMB. HSBC is now provid continuous 24-hour streaming of rates through its single dealer platform as well as supporting the global inter-dealer primary venues. This is the first time that rates are streamed continuously on an interbank platform for direct offshore RMB (CNH) crosses, other than the USD/CNH trading pair.

B

ritish companies are being encouraged to take part in this year’s International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition (IGEM). The event, which embraces a conference, takes place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on 10 – 13 October. The EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI) is once again organising the EU Pavilion and they also propose to create a UK Pavilion, working in partnership with UK Trade & Investment and the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce. “Last year this event attracted over 68,000 visitors from 105 countries, meeting with 352 exhibitors from 24 nations,” said Indra Eckstein, EUMCCI Business Support Executive. More details: indra@eumcci. com or eumcci@eumcci.com Website:www.eumcci.com

HSBC has purposely selected two currency pairs for three key regions: Asia, Europe and the Americas. HSBC’s new offshore RMB currency pairs comprise the following currencies: Euro, British pound, Hong Kong dollar, Singapore dollar, Canadian dollar and Mexican peso. This is in addition to the Group’s already existing USD/ CNH capabilities. Other CNH crosses will be added in time.

Frederic Boillereau, HSBC’s Global Head of FX and Commodities, said, “HSBC continues to lead from the front in innovation for offshore RMB products and services. No other bank currently offers CNH crosses on an interbank basis, a feature we believe will be pivotal to facilitating market liquidity. As one of the largest global FX market participants and a key player in the CNH space, we have a responsibility to our clients to take the lead in developing a benchmark and market for direct CNH crosses.”

IP award for Tilleke & Gibbins

T

Tilleke & Gibbins was shortlisted for this award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before claiming the top prize this year.

Managing IP’s global awards are the culmination of a five-month screening process conducted by researchers in London, New York and Hong Kong and reflect the opinions of clients and peers of the law firms under consideration.

“We have been a dominant player in IP in Thailand for decades and our goal was to replicate that success in Vietnam,” said Thomas Treutler, Partner and Managing Director. “This award reflects our ability to recognise, attract, and retain topnotch talent.”

illeke & Gibbins has been named ‘Vietnam IP Firm of the Year’ by industry publication Managing Intellectual Property.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

45


Dataconsult

Chamber Events

By the Numbers Chris Bruton Director, Dataconsult Ltd.

D

The end-May 2012 National Economic and Social Development Board update and outlook figures forecast GDP growth for 2012 in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 percent, compared with a decline of 2.3 percent in 2009, growth of 7.8 percent in 2010, and a mere 0.1 percent in 2011. Most of the components of GDP are also encouraging with investment growth for 2012 forecast at 12.3 percent, compared with 3.3 percent in 2011, along with consumption growth of 4.4 percent, compared with 1.3 percent in 2011. The NESDB is forecasting export value growth in 2012 at 15.1 percent, compared with 16.4 percent in 2011, and import value growth of 22.3 percent, compared with 24.7 percent in 2011 As a result, trade and current account balances, though considerably reduced, as compared with 2011, would remain positive. Inflation is forecast to remain adequately in check, at 3.5 to 4.0 percent, as compared to 2011 at 3.8 percent. The Bank of Thailand recently published its own forecasts for 2012, with a more optimistic six percent GDP growth rate for 2012, and 5.8 percent for 2013. Export value growth for 2012 is forecast at 9.2 percent and import value growth at 17.0 percent. The trade balance for 2012 is forecast to remain positive but the current account is forecast to turn modestly negative.

The Brief

Actual Data

Issue 3/2012

Projection for

2009

2010

2011

2012

GDP (at current prices: Bil, Bht)

9,041.6

10,104.8

10,540.1

11,573.1

GDP per capita (Bht per year)

134,144

150,117

155,926

170,415

263.3

318.8

345.6

373.3

GDP per capita (USD per year)

3,936.0

4,735.5

5,113.0

5,497.3

GDP Growth (at constant prices,%)

-2.3

7.8

0.1

5.5-6.5

Investment (at constant prices,%)

-9.2

9.4

3.3

12.3

Private (at constant prices,%)

-13.1

13.8

7.2

13.0

Public (at constant prices,%)

2.7

-2.2

-8.7

10.0

0.1

5.1

1.3

4.4

Private (at constant prices,%)

-1.1

4.8

1.3

4.5

Public (at constant prices,%)

7.5

6.4

1.1

3.5

-12.5

14.7

9.5

11.5

150.7

193.7

225.4

259.5

Growth rate (%)

-14.0

28.4

16.4

15.1

Growth rate (Volume, %)

-14.2

17.7

10.2

11.8

-21.5

21.5

13.7

14.2

118.1

161.9

201.9

246.8

Growth rate (%)

-25.2

37.0

24.7

22.3

Growth rate (Volume, %)

-23.2

26.8

13.3

16.5

Trade balance (Bil, USD)

32.6

31.8

23.5

12.7

Current account balance (Bil. USD)

21.9

13.2

11.9

2.7

Current account to GDP (%)

8.3

4.1

3.4

0.7

CPI

-0.9

3.3

3.8

3.5-4.0

GDP Deflator

1.9

3.7

4.2

3.5-4.0

GDP (at current prices: Bil,USD)

Consumption (at constant prices,%)

espite yet another bubbling political crisis, as well as the adverse impact of the late 2011 floods, Thailand’s domestic economy is demonstrating promising signs of continued growth.

46

Economic Projection for 2012

Export volume of goods & services (%) Export value of goods (Bil. USD)

Import volume of goods & services (%) Import value of goods (Bil. USD)

Inflation (%)

Statistical source: International Monetary Fund, April 2012

Dataconsult/IMA Asia and World Bank outlooks

back home from Dubai and to restore his confiscated assets.

Our own view of the emerging political environment emphasises less optimism and more concern than the official Thailand forecasters. A repeat of the confrontation between the judiciary and the pro-Thaksin politicians, and the potential for rising streetlevel tensions, will take the minds of government and administration away from reconstruction and development priorities. Preparation for potential repeated seasonal flooding, and implementation of preventive measures, are top priorities.

Thailand remains reliant on export demand, but performance fell off almost four percent in the first four months of 2012. This was largely owing to the Euro crisis which affected exports to the EU. Despite stronger exports to the USA, China and ASEAN, the overall position declined. The deepening Euro crisis could further reduce overall export performance throughout 2012, bringing export growth closer to zero than the official forecasters presently envisage.

Both established and new investors need reassurance of a stable government dedicated to moving the country forward, rather than concentrating on subterfuges to bring exiled Thaksin

Growth in the consumer sector should remain fairly steady due to the impact of minimum wage increases, flood compensation and populist policies – notably the rice farmer support scheme. With world rice prices easing


Gross Domestic Product at current prices (total value) (countries ranked by 2012 size) (US$ billion) Country

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

China

2,712.9

3,494.2

4,520.0

4,990.5

5,930.4

7,298.1

7,991.7

8,777.2

9,641.9

10,581.1

11,599.0

12,713.9

India

908.5

1,152.8

1,251.4

1,254.0

1,597.9

1,676.1

1,779.3

1,961.7

2,163.5

2,384.5

2,628.9

2,906.5

Indonesia

364.3

432.2

511.0

538.7

708.4

845.7

928.3

1,055.0

1,214.4

1,394.1

1,592.9

1,811.6

Thailand

207.1

247.0

272.6

263.7

318.9

345.6

377.2

415.3

441.4

467.9

494.3

522.6

Malaysia

156.7

186.8

222.8

192.9

237.8

278.7

305.8

329.8

356.7

385.8

417.2

451.2

Singapore

145.7

177.6

190.0

185.6

227.4

259.8

270.0

281.7

294.4

307.7

321.7

336.1

Philippines

122.2

149.4

173.6

168.5

199.6

213.1

227.6

243.0

260.3

279.1

299.6

321.9

Vietnam

60.9

71.1

90.3

93.2

103.6

122.7

135.4

147.9

161.5

175.4

190.1

206.2

Myanmar

14.5

20.2

31.4

35.2

45.4

51.9

54.4

59.0

63.3

67.9

72.3

76.4

Brunei

11.5

12.2

14.4

10.7

12.4

15.5

17.1

16.8

17.1

17.1

17.4

17.7

Cambodia

7.3

8.6

10.4

10.4

11.3

12.9

14.2

15.6

17.1

19.0

21.0

23.2

3.6

4.2

5.3

5.6

6.5

7.9

8.9

9.7

10.6

11.7

12.8

13.8

Laos

Gross Domestic Product at constant prices (growth) (countries ranked by 2012 size)

(Percentage change year-on-year)

Laos

8.6

7.8

7.8

7.6

7.9

8.3

8.4

7.1

7.4

7.9

7.4

5.7

China

12.7

14.2

9.6

9.2

10.4

9.2

8.2

8.8

8.7

8.7

8.6

8.5 8.1

India

9.5

10.0

6.2

6.6

10.6

7.2

6.9

7.3

7.5

7.7

7.8

Cambodia

10.8

10.2

6.7

0.1

6.0

6.1

6.2

6.4

6.9

7.6

7.7

7.7

Indonesia

5.5

6.3

6.0

4.6

6.2

6.5

6.1

6.6

6.9

7.0

7.0

7.0

Myanmar

13.1

12.0

3.6

5.1

5.3

5.5

6.0

5.9

6.0

6.2

6.3

6.5

Vietnam

8.2

8.5

6.3

5.3

6.8

5.9

5.6

6.3

6.9

7.3

7.5

7.5

Thailand

5.1

5.0

2.6

-2.3

7.8

0.1

5.5

7.5

4.5

4.6

4.8

5.0

Malaysia

5.8

6.5

4.8

-1.6

7.2

5.1

4.4

4.7

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

Philippines

5.2

6.6

4.2

1.1

7.6

3.7

4.2

4.7

5.0

5.0

5.0

5.0

Brunei

4.4

0.2

-1.9

-1.8

2.6

1.9

3.2

1.6

4.9

3.3

4.1

3.6

Singapore

8.8

8.9

1.7

-1.0

14.8

4.9

2.7

3.9

4.1

4.0

4.0

4.0

Statistical source: International Monetary Fund, April 2012

as a result of stronger harvest supply, the rice support scheme could have an adverse impact on government finances in the future. But the short term consumer impact should be positive. In its own Thailand assessment, the World Bank has expressed concern about the impact of populist policies on government capacity to invest in strengthening the Thailand economy to withstand external economic challenges. According to the World Bank, government populist spending and tax reductions could be equal 4.5 percent of GDP without much impact on raising productivity. Included in the populist schemes are tax cuts, schemes for first-time buyers of homes and cars and a debt moratorium. The rice pledging programme will alone cost 900 billion baht, and incur severe losses upon realisation of acquired stocks. The World Bank GDP growth forecast for the Thailand economy in 2012 presently stands at 4.5 percent, rather lower than the NESDB 5.5 to 6.5 percent range or indeed the Bank of Thailand’s six percent prediction. Our own Dataconsult/IMA Asia forecast now stands at 3.2 percent, rising to 4.2 percent in 2013. This is mainly as a result of our relatively conservative

outlook regarding Eurozone performance and the knock-on effects not only on Thailand’s direct Eurozone exports but also those of countries which are Thailand’s customers but are also dependent on their own exports to the Eurozone. Long-term regional projections: IMF latest forecasts Recently updated IMF projections, released in April 2012, indicate that Thailand will maintain its position over the next five years as ASEAN’s second largest economy with a present (current price) GDP of US$377 billion. The IMF takes the view that GDP growth in 2012 will achieve 5.5 percent and maintain this level, on average, over the following five years. Thailand’s GDP per capita already slipped below that of China in 2011 and now stands at US$5,851 compared with China’s US$5,899. That disparity will continue to widen because of China’s much stronger GDP growth and controlled population growth. However, on a PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) basis, Thailand remains ahead of China at US$9,979 compared with China’s $9,143 and will not be overtaken until 2015.

Population-wise, Thailand is the third or fourth largest country in ASEAN, after Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The uncertainty relates to Myanmar since Thailand is estimated to have 64.5 million while Myanmar is estimated at 63.7 million – almost certainly an under enumeration with over two million Myanmar citizens temporarily located in Thailand. An advantage for Thailand’s development is its favourable ratio of general government debt to GDP, assessed by the IMF at 44.4 percent. This gives Thailand considerable leeway in its ability to borrow domestically or internationally. This compares with Greece (161%), Italy (123%), Ireland (113 %), Portugal (112%) and the USA (107%). But the real prizewinner (albeit booby prize) is Japan (236%), although much of that debt is domestically held thus making international default highly unlikely. For Thailand, in 2012, the outlook is better than average. The country is showing resilience and recovery, both from the downturns of previous years and the setbacks of the 2011 floods. However, politics remains a discouraging factor and world economic uncertainties demand cautious navigation.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

47


Gross Domestic Product per capita (countries ranked by 2012 size) (Current prices: US$ Dollars) Country Singapore Brunei Malaysia China Thailand Indonesia Philippines Vietnam India Laos Cambodia Myanmar

2006 31,763 29,949 5,839 2,064 3,296 1,622 1,405 724 807 596 514 257

2007 36,695 31,404 6,873 2,645 3,918 1,898 1,684 835 1,009 694 603 350

Singapore Brunei Malaysia Thailand China Indonesia Philippines India Vietnam Laos Cambodia Myanmar

47,361 49,431 12,270 7,691 4,747 3,420 3,260 2,441 2,364 1,816 1,626 983

Vietnam India Laos Indonesia Myanmar Cambodia Thailand Singapore Philippines China Malaysia Brunei

7.5 6.3 6.8 13.1 26.3 6.1 4.6 1.0 5.6 1.5 3.6 0.2

Singapore India Laos Malaysia Myanmar Thailand Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Indonesia China Brunei

86.4 78.5 71.4 43.2 68.8 42.0 51.6 34.8 32.7 39.0 16.2 0.0

85.8 75.4 63.3 42.7 49.6 38.3 44.6 36.0 30.6 35.1 19.6 0.0

Brunei Singapore Malaysia China Thailand Philippines Indonesia Vietnam India Myanmar Cambodia Lao

50.1 24.5 16.7 8.6 1.1 4.4 3.0 -0.3 -1.0 7.1 -0.6 -9.9

47.8 25.8 15.9 10.1 6.3 4.8 2.4 -9.8 -0.7 0.6 -0.9 -15.7

China

1,314.5 1,126.0 224.6 87.0 84.2 62.8 56.5 26.8 14.2 6.0 4.6 0.4

1,321.3 1,142.0 227.8 88.7 85.2 63.0 57.6 27.2 14.3 6.1 4.8 0.4

2008 38,087 36,223 8,091 3,404 4,300 2,212 1,918 1,048 1,081 856 711 533

2009 36,567 26,423 6,917 3,739 4,151 2,299 1,827 1,068 1,068 886 703 587

2010 43,865 29,852 8,418 4,421 4,992 2,981 2,123 1,174 1,342 1,004 753 742

2011 49,271 36,584 9,700 5,414 5,394 3,509 2,223 1,374 1,389 1,204 852 832

2012 50,324 39,355 10,467 5,899 5,851 3,797 2,329 1,498 1,455 1,338 931 855

2013 51,602 37,880 11,099 6,446 6,404 4,255 2,438 1,617 1,583 1,429 1,012 909

2014 53,013 37,692 11,803 7,046 6,766 4,829 2,561 1,745 1,723 1,534 1,102 955

2015 54,460 36,855 12,551 7,694 7,130 5,465 2,692 1,872 1,874 1,657 1,206 1,005

2016 55,962 36,742 13,347 8,392 7,486 6,157 2,833 2,005 2,040 1,776 1,322 1,049

2017 57,467 36,612 14,194 9,153 7,868 6,904 2,984 2,149 2,226 1,880 1,450 1,087

68,248 54,537 18,591 12,059 12,121 6,047 4,801 4,934 4,369 3,523 2,935 1,638

70,893 56,428 19,505 12,765 13,305 6,482 5,022 5,334 4,716 3,775 3,180 1,734

73,847 58,277 20,529 13,583 14,640 6,971 5,270 5,801 5,107 3,994 3,457 1,846

5.7 5.5 4.6 5.1 5.3 3.1 3.0 2.1 4.0 3.0 2.5 1.4

5.3 5.0 4.5 4.7 5.3 3.0 3.0 2.0 4.0 3.0 2.5 1.3

5.0 4.1 3.9 4.5 5.3 3.0 3.0 2.0 4.0 3.0 2.5 1.3

5.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 5.3 5.7 3.0 2.0 4.0 3.0 2.5 1.3

92.6 66.2 50.8 54.8 41.7 49.0 37.2 35.6 28.5 19.2 17.1 0.0

90.2 65.8 49.4 55.6 36.2 50.3 35.8 34.4 28.0 17.6 14.8 0.0

87.6 65.3 48.0 56.3 34.3 51.2 34.4 33.4 27.3 16.4 12.6 0.0

89.0 64.6 46.5 57.1 32.5 51.7 33.2 32.3 26.4 15.5 10.1 0.0

56.3 20.8 10.1 3.0 2.0 1.3 -1.0 -1.2 -2.8 -1.6 -7.0 -28.3

59.3 20.0 9.6 3.4 1.5 1.6 -1.0 -1.5 -2.7 -3.5 -6.4 -22.9

61.9 19.3 9.1 3.9 1.3 1.8 -1.2 -1.4 -2.5 -4.6 -5.8 -17.5

65.3 18.6 8.6 4.3 1.0 1.9 -1.2 -1.2 -2.4 -5.1 -5.2 -14.3

1,368.4 1,255.6 251.5 101.6 92.6 65.2 66.3 30.2 15.6 6.9 5.6 0.5

1,375.3 1,272.1 255.1 103.7 93.7 65.6 67.6 30.7 15.7 7.1 5.7 0.5

1,382.2 1,288.8 258.7 105.8 94.8 66.0 68.9 31.3 15.9 7.2 5.7 0.5

1,389.1 1,305.8 262.4 107.9 95.9 66.4 70.3 31.8 16.0 7.3 5.8 0.5

GDP Purchasing-power-parity per capita (countries ranked by 2012 size) (Current International dollar) 50,302 50,029 13,269 8,286 5,548 3,690 3,507 2,724 2,607 1,979 1,824 1,111

50,738 49,139 14,033 8,639 6,185 3,942 3,659 2,916 2,800 2,141 1,956 1,153

49,880 47,797 13,771 8,507 6,792 4,110 3,672 3,098 2,945 2,285 1,946 1,201

56,708 48,621 14,744 9,222 7,550 4,353 3,920 3,419 3,143 2,449 2,065 1,255

59,711 49,384 15,568 9,396 8,382 4,666 4,073 3,694 3,359 2,659 2,216 1,325

61,047 50,440 16,186 9,979 9,143 4,944 4,214 3,944 3,550 2,866 2,361 1,394

63,285 50,959 16,915 10,828 10,047 5,274 4,394 4,240 3,784 3,059 2,524 1,469

65,710 53,111 17,722 11,414 11,030 5,641 4,590 4,567 4,057 3,273 2,712 1,549

Inflation: average consumer prices (countries ranked by 2012 size) (Percentage change year-on-year) 8.3 6.4 4.5 6.7 32.9 7.7 2.2 2.1 3.0 4.8 2.0 1.0

23.1 8.3 7.6 9.8 22.5 25.0 5.5 6.6 8.2 5.9 5.4 2.1

6.7 10.9 0.0 4.8 8.2 -0.7 -0.8 0.6 4.2 -0.7 0.6 1.0

9.2 12.0 6.0 5.1 8.2 4.0 3.3 2.8 3.8 3.3 1.7 0.4

18.7 8.6 8.7 5.4 4.2 5.5 3.8 5.2 4.8 5.4 3.2 2.0

12.6 8.2 6.7 6.2 5.8 4.0 3.9 3.5 3.4 3.3 2.7 1.6

6.8 7.3 5.3 6.0 6.3 3.6 3.3 2.3 4.1 3.0 2.5 1.4

General Government Gross Debt (percent of GDP) (countries ranked by 2012 size) (%) 96.9 74.7 59.9 42.8 42.4 37.3 44.2 31.9 27.5 33.2 17.0 0.0

103.4 75.0 62.2 55.4 44.6 45.2 44.3 38.4 28.9 28.6 17.7 0.0

101.2 69.4 62.0 52.9 42.9 42.6 42.2 38.3 29.1 27.4 33.5 0.0

100.8 68.1 57.4 52.6 44.3 41.7 40.5 38.0 28.6 25.0 25.8 0.0

98.0 67.6 54.0 53.1 45.7 44.4 40.1 37.3 28.6 23.2 22.0 0.0

95.7 66.8 52.2 54.0 44.2 46.3 38.7 36.5 28.2 21.1 19.4 0.0

Current Account Balance (countries ranked by 2012 size) (percent of GDP) 48.9 13.9 17.7 9.1 0.8 2.1 0.0 -11.9 -2.5 -2.7 -4.5 -18.5

40.2 16.2 16.5 5.2 8.3 5.6 2.5 -6.6 -2.1 -2.8 -3.5 -21.0

45.5 24.4 11.5 5.1 4.1 4.5 0.8 -4.1 -3.3 -0.9 -4.0 -18.2

54.2 21.9 11.5 2.8 3.4 2.7 0.2 -0.5 -2.8 -2.6 -9.6 -19.4

52.6 21.8 10.8 2.3 1.0 0.9 -0.4 -1.6 -3.2 -4.3 -10.6 -19.6

53.4 21.3 10.5 2.6 1.4 1.0 -0.9 -1.4 -2.9 -3.4 -9.7 -22.0

Population ASEAN+2 (countries ranked by 2012 size) (million persons) India Indonesia Philippines Vietnam Thailand Myanmar Malaysia Cambodia Laos Singapore Brunei

1,328.0 1,158.0 231.0 90.5 86.2 63.4 58.8 27.5 14.6 6.2 5.0 0.4

Statistical source: International Monetary Fund, April 2012

48

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

1,334.7 1,174.0 234.3 92.2 87.2 63.5 60.0 27.9 14.8 6.3 5.1 0.4

1,341.4 1,190.5 237.6 94.0 88.3 63.9 61.2 28.3 15.0 6.4 5.2 0.4

1,348.1 1,206.9 241.0 95.9 89.3 64.1 62.4 28.7 15.1 6.6 5.3 0.4

1,354.9 1,223.2 244.5 97.7 90.4 64.5 63.7 29.2 15.3 6.7 5.4 0.4

1,361.6 1,239.3 248.0 99.7 91.5 64.8 65.0 29.7 15.4 6.8 5.5 0.4


British Chamber of Commerce Thailand Thailand and UK: partners in progress Who we are We represent close to 600 members • Individuals and organisations • Small, medium and large sized companies • Open to all nationalities

Our focus • Promoting Thailand-UK ties • Facilitate and build opportunities for members What we do • Business presentations with expert speakers • Networking functions • Business surveys, industry specific reports and economic outlook forecasts • Training workshops • Business introductions and referrals • Sports, social and charitable initiatives

To join us or for more information visit www.bccthai.com British Chamber of Commerce Thailand 7th Floor, 208 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel: 02-651 5350/3 Fax: 02-651 5354 Like us on The Brief

Issue 3/2012

49


Chamber Events

Chamber Events BCCT TESCO Lotus Bangkok Masters 2012 26-27 May 2012 The BCCT-Tesco Lotus Bangkok Masters Football Tournament took place on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May. It was a great success with more than 30 multi-national amateur teams competing in four age groups from over 35 to over 50.

50

The Brief

Issue 3/2012


Chamber Events

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

51


Chamber Events

Robert Walters Football Dinner 26 May 2012 Robert Walters Thailand sponsored a football dinner on Saturday 26th May at the Dusit Thani Bangkok. Speakers were ex-Chelsea star Clive Walker; Manchester United legend Lee Sharpe; and Gareth Hall, ex-Chelsea and Wales with MC ESPN Star Sports Andrew Leci.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

52

The Brief

Issue 3/2012


Chamber Events

BCCT Open Forum Evening on Myanmar 26 March 2012 Myanmar On Monday 26th March BCCT board director Gary Biesty, South Asia Law; Vice Chairman John Sim, KPMG and Chairman Simon Landy, Colliers were speakers at the BCCT Open Forum Evening on Myanmar at The Courtyard by Marriott.

01 01 - Gary Biesty, South Asia Law

02 02 (from left to right) - Kevin Fisher, CEA - Gary Biesty, South Asia Law/BCCT Board Director - John Sim, KPMG/BCCT Vice Chairman - Simon Landy, Colliers/BCCT Chairman

BCCT Half-Day Workshop (Customer Service) 27 March 2012 On Tuesday 27th March, the BCCT Management Development Group organised an English Language Half-day Workshop on a topic of ‘Customer Service’ at Le Meridien Hotel.

01 01 - Michael Bain, Crestcom

02 02 - The Customer Service workshop was well attended.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

53


Chamber Events

BCCT Annual Lecture & Dinner 28 March 2012 On 28th March Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN Secretary General, was guest speaker at the BCCT Annual Lecture & Dinner sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank.

01

02

01 (from left to right) - John Sim, KPMG in Thailand/ BCCT Vice Chairman - Lyn Kok, Standard Chartered Bank - Dr. Surin Pitsuwan - H.E. Asif Ahmad, British Ambassador - Simon Matthews, Manpower/ BCCT Vice Chairman

02 (from left to right) - Richard Greaves, Grand Hyatt Erawan/BCCT Board Director - Steve Buckley, BCCT UK Group - Chris Thatcher, BCCT Board Director

BCCT Breakfast Briefing 29 March 2012 Surviving in Economic Downturns On 29th March, Alex Gourlay, CEO of Boots UK was speaker at the BCCT breakfast briefing. He shared insights on Surviving in Economic Downturns – How to Navigate One of the Most Highly Competitive High Streets in the World.

01 01 (from left to right) - Matthew Lobner, HSBC/ BCCT Vice Chairman - Simon Landy, Colliers/ BCCT Chairman - Alex Gourlay, Boots UK - Dean Thompson, Boots Retails (Thailand)/ BCCT Vice Chairman - Bradley Jones, British Embassy - Andrew McBean, Grant Thornton/ BCCT Board Director

02 02 - Guests listen to the presentation from Alex Gourlay.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

54

The Brief

Issue 3/2012


Chamber Events

The Rbi Premium European Chambers Corporate Golf 30 March 2012 BCCT joined hands with other European Chambers to organise the Corporate Golf Challenge on 30th March at Bangsai Country Club.

01 01 - Prizewinners after the golf challenge.

02 02 - Ready to tee off in the Rbi Premium European Chambers Corporate Golf Challenge.

BCCT Membership Meeting 3 April 2012 BCCT held a membership meeting on 3rd April to obtain members views and feedback.

01 01 (from left to right) - Viriya Chongphaisal, GSK (Thailand) - Chris Thatcher, BCCT Board Director - Simon Landy, Colliers/BCCT Chairman - Richard Greaves, Grand Hyatt Erawan/BCCT Board Director

02 02 (from left to right) - Gary Rodbard, St. Stephen’s International School - Jane Bailey, Equitech (Thailand) Ltd./ BCCT Board Director - Colin Hastings, The Big Chilli Co., Ltd./ BCCT Board Director

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

55


Chamber Events

T3–Third Thursday Social Networking 19 April 2012 Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit sponsored the T3-Third Thursday Social Networking at BarSu on 19th April. It was a great night and well attended. Thank you to our sponsor for their support of this event.

01 01 (From left to right) - Gareth Hughes, RSM Advisory (Thailand) Limited - Achara Boonyahansa, Grant Thornton - Andrew McBean, Grant Thornton/BCCT Board Director

02 02 (from left to right) - Simon Matthews, Manpower/BCCT Vice Chairman - Justin Moseley, Consortium UK Ltd. - Douglas Ozanne, Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit - Sarinthorn Sachavirawong, BCCT

BCCT/AMCHAM/AustCham Eastern Seaboard Networking Evening 20 April 2012

On 20th April, BCCT joined hands with AMCHAM and AustCham for an Eastern Seaboard Networking Evening at Holiday Inn Pattaya. Thanks to our sponsor Amrop and Holiday Inn.

01

02

01 (From left to right) - Alexander Hutton-Potts, Simplicity International Co., Ltd. - Cees Cuijpers, Town & Country Property Co., Ltd - Iain Corness, Pattaya Mail

02 (from left to right) - Tana Aksorn, Amrop - Simon Landy, Colliers/BCCT Chairman

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

56

The Brief

Issue 3/2012


Chamber Events

BCCT Eastern Seaboard Dinner (Pattaya Mayor) 24 April 2012 On 24th April Khun Itthiphol Kunplome, Mayor of Pattaya city, was guest speaker at the BCCT Eastern Seaboard Dinner. He highlighted his achievements to date, and shared his vision for the City of Pattaya.

01

02

01 (From left to right) - David Cumming, Amati Orchid Pattaya/BCCT Board Director - Simon Landy, Colliers/ BCCT Chairman - Itthiphol Kunplome, Mayor of Pattaya city,

02 - Taking to the stage during the Eastern Seaboard Dinner in Pattaya.

Special BCCT Luncheon (Minister of Industry) 25 April 2012

H.E. M.R. Pongsvas Svasti, Minister, Ministry of Industry was guest speaker at the BCCT Luncheon sponsored by Zincox Resources PLC on 25th April. His Excellency shared insights on Thailand’s Investment Promotion Policies and Development.

01

02

01 - H.E. M.R. Pongsvas Svasti, Minister, Ministry of Industry

02 - H.E. M.R. Pongsvas Svasti pictured with VIPs and guests.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

57


Chamber Events

BCCT Half- Day Seminar (Labour and Employment Law) 26 April 2012 BCCT in partnership with Siam City Law organised a half- day seminar on ‘Labour and Employment Law’ on Thursday 26th April at the British Club.

01 01 - Speaker Khun Tada Sastarasatit, Siam City Law Office Limited (SCL)

02 02 - Thailand’s Labour Law seminar attracted a wide range of participants from the business community.

BCCT Site Visit to Amata Nakorn & Triumph Motorcycles 14 May 2012

On 14th May Amata Nakorn and Triumph Motorcycles opened their gates to BCCT and TCCC members to a half day site visit. Grateful thanks to Amata Nakorn, Triumph Motorcycles and La-iert Cryogenic Sanitisation Co., Ltd for their support.

01

02

01 - Fifth from left: Peter Coates, Operation Director of Triumph Motorcycles

02 - Simon Birkett, CEO of La-iert Cryogenic Sanitisation Co., Ltd. demonstrates his product.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

58

The Brief

Issue 3/2012


Chamber Events

Third Thursday Networking Evening 17 May 2012 T3- Third Thursday Social Networking on Thursday 17th May at Le Bar De L’ Hotel was an enjoyable event. A warm thanks to our sponsor Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit.

01

02

01 (From left to right) - Simon Matthews, Manpower/BCCT Vice Chairman - Shadi Refai, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit

02 (from left to right) - Nigel Oakins, Blue Mango Publishing Co., Ltd. - Wannaporn Wattanakasemsat, Diageo Moet Hennessy - Simon Landy, Colliers/BCCT Chairman

BCCT Eastern Seaboard Half-Day Workshop (Strategic Role of HRM) 18 May 2012

On Friday 18th May, the BCCT Management Development Group organised an Eastern Seaboard Half- Day Workshop on a topic of ‘Strategic Role of HRM’ at Pullman Pattaya Hotel G.

01

02

01 - Facilitator Khun Sitchoke Chuangarron, Brainforce International

02 (from left to right) - Lookfa Pinthong, Amari Orchid Pattaya - Dr. Nantanaj Chalayananonda, Brainforce International - Wilasinee Towijit, JAC Personal Recruitment Co., Ltd.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

59


Chamber Events

Joint AMCHAM/AustCham/BCCT Eastern Seaboard Networking Evening 18 May 2012 On 18th May the BCCT joined hands with AMCHAM and AustCham for an Eastern Seaboard Networking Evening at Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa.

01 01 (From left to right) - Michael Francis Ellis, Allied Pickfords Thailand - Paul Grims, Siam Hunter - Judy Benn, AMCHAM - Joe Barker- Bennett, Crestcom- Traincom Ltd.

02 02 (from left to right) - Peter Mewes; HBS Law - Stuart Saunders; ESDesign Co., Ltd.

BCCT ICT Evening Presentation: Danger - Your security is at risk! 21 May 2012

The BCCT ICT Group organised an Evening Presentation with guest speaker Khun Prinya Hom-anek on Danger - Your security is at risk! on Monday 21st May at Courtyard by Marriott.

01 01 - Prinya Hom-anek, Founder and President, ACIS Professional Center

02 02 (from left to right) - Kowit Somwaiya, LawPlus Ltd. - Chris Thatcher, BCCT Board Director - Robert Marchant, Horizon IT Co., Ltd. - John Wagner, Venda Software Development Ltd.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

60

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

- Prinya Home-anek, ACIS Professional Center - David Quine, YES Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd. - Andrew McBean, Grant Thornton/ BCCT Board Director - Nattapong Voracharoen, Banyan Tree Bangkok


Chamber Events

Special BCCT Luncheon (Lord Mayor, The City of London) 23 May 2012 On 23rd May Alderman David Wootton, Lord Mayor of the City of London, was guest speaker at the special BCCT Luncheon sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank.

01 01 (From left to right) - Chris Thatcher, BCCT Board Director; - Simon Matthews, Manpower/BCCT Vice Chariman; - Sir Thomas Harris, Special Adviser, Standard Chartered Bank; - H.E. Mr. Asif Ahmad, British Ambassador; - Alderman David Wootton, Lord Mayor of the City of London; - Lyn Kok, President and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank; - Simon Landy; Colliers/BCCT Chairman; - Alderman Alan Yarrow, Sheriff, City of London; - Matthew Lobner, HSBC/BCCT Vice Chairman; - Andrew McBean, Grant Thornton/BCCT Board Director

02 02 - Alderman David Wootton, Lord Mayor of the City of London

BCCT Networking Evening 25 May 2012 On Friday 25th May, The Dusit Thani Bangkok kindly hosted and sponsored a networking evening for participants in the BCCT-Tesco Lotus Bangkok Masters Football Tournament.

01 01 - Kirk Albrow, Etihad Airways (6th from left) with the Etihad All Stars Team

02 02 (from left to right) - Alex Willats, Dusit Thani Hotel - Greg Watkins, BCCT - Kirk Albrow, Etihad Airways - Sarinthorn Sachavirawong, BCCT - Chris Thatcher, BCCT Board Director

Thank you to our sponsors and partners.

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

61


Comings and Goings The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand welcomes the following new members:

The Agent (Property Expert) Co., Ltd

13th Floor Unit 1305 55 Wave Place Building Wittayu Road, Lumpini Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Tel: +66 (0) 2655-1177 Fax: +66 (0) 2655-1175 Mob: +66 (0) 87-496-5744, +66 (0) 87-496-9874 Representative: Mr. Kirk Bunyayotin, Marketing Manager Business Activity: The Agent is the leading residential Urban Link Property Expert, providing a comprehensive range of real estate services in Thailand to international, regional and local clients, including investors, owners and occupiers.

Australian psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors is the key to our excellent international reputation.

Cambridge International Consultancy Co., Ltd. 42 Vanapirom Place Building, 42/15 Latphrao, Jompol, Jatujak Bangkok 10900 Tel: +66 (0) 2511-6134 Representative: Mr. Hugh Allen, Director Business Activity: CICCL provides international business development solutions between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Kingdom.

Campbell Chambers Thai Company Limited Berkeley International School

123 Bangna-Trad Road, Km. 1 Bangna, Bangkok 10260 Tel: +66 (0) 2747-4888-2 Fax: +66 (0) 2747-4988 Representative: Dr. Thomas Dellario, Headmaster Business Activity: Berkeley International School offers a world class, rigorous, American educational diploma program. In addition, we teach respect for honesty, human dignity, diversity, one’s self, and to be responsible global citizens.

408/43, 10th Floor, Phaholyothin Place, Phaholyothin Road, Samsennai, Phayathai, Bangkok 10400 Tel: +66 (0) 2278-1879 Fax: +66 (0) 2278-1879 Representative: Dr. Visarut Phadermchit, Practice Manager Business Activity: Tourist Arrest - Police Detention - General Litigation - Criminal Defense Work - Commercial Debt Collection.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos Co., Ltd.

The Cabin Chiang Mai Co., Ltd.

website: www.thecabinchiangmai.com Representative: Mr. Adrian Crump, Director Business Activity: The Cabin Chiang Mai is an exclusive addiction treatment centre based in northern Thailand. Our highlyexperienced and qualified team of UK and 62

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

Rajanakarn Building, 25th, 26th, 28th Floor South Sathorn Road, Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel: +66 (0) 2676-5700 Fax: +66 (0) 2676-5757 Representative: Mr. Peter David Hamilton, Associate Director, Financial Advisory Services Business Activity: Deloitte provide s professional services in audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory.

Merck Ltd.

19th Floor, 622 Emporium Tower, Sukhumvit Road, Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110 Tel: +66 (0) 2667-8000 Fax: +66 (0) 2667-8399 Representative: Mr. Panya Kitcharoenkankul, Managing Director Business Activity: Marketing pharmaceutical and chemical products of Merck KGaA, Germany & associated companies.

The Okura Prestige Bangkok

Park Venture Ecoplex 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan Bangkok 10330 Tel: +66 (0) 2687-9000 Fax: +66 (0) 2687-9001 Representative: Mr. Samir R. Wildemann, General Manager Business Activity: A 240-room luxury hotel harmonises Japanese and Thai cultures and features cutting-edge facilities such as a cantilevered infinity pool, premium spa and an extensive range of dining venues.

Praputt Kamlang-ek Football Club Co., Ltd. 17/1, Soi Pridi Bhamonyong 21 (Chuleeporn), Sukhumvit 71 Road, Prakhanong Nue, Wattana Bangkok 10110 Tel: +66 (0) 2711-1221 Representative: Mr. Jonathan Pereira, Managing Director Business Activity: Arsenal Soccer Schools, a key component of Arsenal


Football Club’s global community program has arrived in Thailand. Established proudly in various parts of the world and aggressively growing in footprint, the school is a firm foundation for a fun-learning soccer environment.

Surreal Holidays (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

105/439 Nawamintr 57, Nawamintr Road Bueng Kum, Bangkok 10240 Tel: +66 (0) 2736-7440 Fax: +66 (0) 2734-5919 Representative: Mr. Tunwa Kittikupt, Managing Director Business Activity: We specialize in private luxury bespoke holidays to Thailand and Indochina countries, both for leisure or business or corporate meeting.

4. Mayer Brown JSM (Thailand) Limited, changed from Mr. Gary Biesty, to Mr. Iain Melville 5. Mountbatten International Programmes (Thailand) Co.,Ltd., changed from Mr. Robert Thornhill, to Ms. Nisa Chamat 6. Primo Co., Ltd., changed from Mr. Simon Landy, to Mrs. Napaporn Landy 7. Salamander Energy (E&P) Ltd., from Dr. John Bell, to Mr. Graham Balchin

Changes of company name: 1. PTT Chemical Public Company Limited changed to PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited 2. RMA Trading Co., Ltd., changed to RMA Group Co., Ltd. 3. Pullman Pattaya Aisawan, changed to Pullman Pattaya Hotel G

Members with new addresses: 1. ABC Asian Business Consulting Co., Ltd. 352/329, M. 12, Nongprue Banglamung, Chonburi 20150 Tel: +66 (0) 38-252-531-2 Fax: +66 (0) 38-252-533 2. Axis Consultants (Thailand) Limited 195, 21 Floor, Unit 2108 Empire Tower (River Wing West) South Sathorn Road, Yannawa Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel: +66 (0) 2670-0140-1 Fax: +66 (0) 2670-0142 3. Mayer Brown JSM (Thailand) Limited 9th Floor, Unit 903-4 98 Sathorn Square Office Tower North Sathorn Road, Silom Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Tel: +66 (0) 2108-8555 Fax: +66 (0) 2108-1555

Resignations: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

Allied Pickfords – Thailand AquaOrange Software Co., Ltd. Aspara (Thailand) Ltd AviSiam Co., Ltd. Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit Boncafe (Thailand) Ltd. Channah Thailand (Ayurva) Credenda Associates Limited Eclipse Combustion (Thailand) Limited Emerson Electric (Thailand) Co Ltd GoIndustry-DoveBid (Thailand) Ltd HBM Ltd Jotun Thailand Limited Molly Malone’s Irish pub MVP International Law Office & Associates Co., Ltd. NET Solutions (ESB) Limited Premier Oilfield Services Co. Ltd. Reed Institute, The Right Office Co.,Ltd. (The) Serene Sands Banglamung Co., Ltd. Servcorp Co., Ltd. T.C.C. Commercial Property Management Co., Ltd. 23. Team Precision Public Company Limited 24. UniGroup Worldwide UTS

New Company Representatives: 1. British Club Bangkok, changed from Khun Premrudee Tanyaluck, to Mr. Joost Paijmans 2. Citibank, changed from Mr. Payong Srivanich, to Mr. Darren Buckley 3. International School Bangkok (ISB) , changed from Dr. William Gerritz, to Dr. Andrew Davies

Forthcoming events JULY

AUGUST

3/7 – BCCT Eastern Seaboard Evening Presentation (Pattaya – Marine Park Project) Guest speaker: Wayne Phillips, Ph.D – lecturer in Ecology at Mahidol University and Gwyn Mills of Dive Tribe Venue: Mercure Pattaya

16/8 – Third Thursday Networking Venue: JW Marriott 17/8 – Joint Eastern Seaboard Networking Venue: Marriott Pattaya

24/8 – Half-Day Workshop 12/7 – Special BCCT Luncheon (Customer Services) Guest speaker: Lord Venue: Imperial Queen’s Park Jonathan Marland, UKTI Business Ambassador Topic: Burma Visit & Related issues SEPTEMBER Venue: Holiday Inn Silom 4/9 – Special BCCT Luncheon 19/7 – Third Thursday (Bank of Thailand) Networking Guest speaker: Dr Prasarn Trairatvorakul, Venue: The Queen Vic social club Governor of Bank of Thailand Venue: to be advised 20/7 – Joint BCCT/AustCham/ AMCHAM Eastern Seaboard 20/9 – Third Thursday Dinner Networking Guest speaker: H.E. Asif Ahmad, British Venue: to be advised Ambassador to Thailand Venue: Holiday Inn Pattaya 21/9 – Joint Eastern Seaboard Networking 27/7 – Multi Chambers Evening Luncheon Venue: to be advised Venue: to be advised

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

63


FINAL WORD

Invest with caution is key message at WEF By Dale Lawrence

I

t was entirely predictable that the visit to Thailand by Aung San Suu Kyi to the recent World Economic Forum would hog the headlines and steal the thunder from most of the other guest speakers. In short, she stole the show. And nobody (well almost nobody) was complaining. In making her first overseas visit in more than 20 years, Aung San Suu Kyi’s modest demeanour did nothing to deter the frenzy of excitement that extended way beyond the news-hungry media pack of TV crews, photographers and journalists to embrace the vast majority of the WEF participants. Her words of wisdom, carefully digested by a curious and attentive audience, received a well-deserved and prolonged standing ovation. But, and much more importantly, this remarkable lady used this international platform to focus upon the many needs of those living in Myanmar.

There has been, in recent weeks, an almost indecent haste displayed by political and business leaders as they seek to capitalise on the release of one of the world’s most well-known political prisoners and the move towards a partial democratisation by Myanmar’s military regime. Aung San Suu Kyi told the WEF delegates – and the wider international community – to exercise caution when considering investment opportunities and she stressed the importance of operating in a totally transparent manner so that the anticipated avalanche of cash in the years and months ahead will benefit the impoverished and underprivileged in Myanmar. “We do not want more investment to mean more possibilities for corruption,” she said. “Our country must benefit.” She noted that the country is only in the very early phases of building a democ-

racy and still lacks rule of law and an independent judiciary. “These days I am coming across what I call reckless optimism. A little bit of healthy scepticism is in order.” It was also predictable that her appearance at the World Economic Forum would prompt the withdrawal from the event by President Thein Sein. President Thein Sein had been scheduled to address the forum but withdrew after Suu Kyi’s attendance was announced. His replacement, Energy Minister Than Htay, announced that Myanmar would host the forum in 2013. “I do believe in the sincerity of the president when he speaks of his commitment to reform,” she said, graciously. “But I also recognise that he’s not the only person in government. And, as I keep repeating, there is the military to be reckoned with.”

Splish splash - you’re having a laugh

I

s there no end to Britain’s ‘elf and safety madness? Parents in Southampton are being told that the children should not play in paddling pools if the temperature drops below 20C (68F). According to the Daily Mail, Southampton City Council has warned parents their children ‘could be at risk from falling ill’ if they use the free facility at Southampton Common in temperatures any less than the occasional heat-wave that descends upon the British Isles. Bemused parents said it was health and safety ‘gone mad’, reported the Daily

64

The Brief

Issue 3/2012

sense come into this. Parents are capable of making decisions and, if children get a bit chilly, they will just come out.” Retired solicitor and grandfather-ofthree Richard Strother told the Mail reporter, “I was very amused to see the notice. Children would be happy to be splashing around even in ten degrees.” Mail. Father-of-two Wasim Chowdury, 31, said, “It makes me laugh. This is completely over the top. The temperature is rarely hotter than 20 degrees in this country. If kids want to have a dip, they will have a dip. Health and safety has gone mad. Where does common

A council spokesman said, “This sign gives people some basic information that might be useful in helping users decide how to best enjoy the paddling pool with their families.” You couldn’t make it up.



The Brief, Issue 3/2012